Orlando Predators building pipeline to NFL
Tuesday September 8, 2015
Five Predators Players Land on NFL Rosters
ORLANDO – September 8, 2015 – As the National Football League reached its deadline for teams to make final cuts last Saturday, five former Arena Football League players currently on the AFL’s “Other League Exempt” list earned spots on active 53-man regular season rosters. Three of those AFL veterans are former Orlando Predators.
Defensive ends T.J. Fatinikun and Earl Okine, as well as linebacker Brandon Copeland, will each be on NFL Opening Day rosters. Fatinikun enters his second season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after notching 1.5 sacks, one forced and two pass breakups with Orlando in 2014. Okine joins the Indianapolis Colts after playing in all 18 games for the Preds in 2014, recording 22 total tackles with 7.5 tackles for loss and a team-best 5.5 sacks. Copeland will suit up for the Detroit Lions after joining the Predators this past offseason.
“Obviously, we’re thrilled for our former Predators who are living out a dream by being on NFL rosters. We wish them the best of luck,” Team President Jared Saft said. “I think it’s also a testament to the talent evaluation of Coach Rob Keefe and General Manager Mike DiJulio.”
In addition to Fatinikun, Okine and Copeland, two other former Predators remain on NFL rosters this season. Offensive lineman Erle Ladson has been signed to the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad. Nose guard Austin Brown was also signed by New Orleans, but was hurt during practice with the Saints and will spend the season on the team’s injured reserve list.
“The ultimate goal outside of winning a championship in Arena Football is to make it to the NFL and we strive to bring in players who have those aspirations,” said Head Coach Rob Keefe. “We are so proud of these deserving men who have worked very hard to play at the highest level.”
ABOUT THE ORLANDO PREDATORS
The 2014 and 2015 back-to-back South Division Champion Orlando Predators are in their 24th season as Central Florida’s most exciting and innovative professional sports franchise. Proud members of the Arena Football League, the Predators have achieved unprecedented success on the field. Orlando has advanced to the AFL playoffs a league-leading 22 times in their history while securing seven conference championships, including two ArenaBowl Championship victories in 1998 and 2000.