Nelson Highlights Valor Signings to Open Free Agency
Tuesday March 5, 2019
Atoe, Parker, Dangerfield and Davenport among nine players returning from 2018 title team
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Valor announced today multiple signings, including quarterback and ArenaBowl XXXI Most Valuable Player Arvell Nelson, who returns to the team after starting the final nine games of the 2018 season.
Nelson, who led Washington to its first-ever ArenaBowl appearance and championship in 2018, enters his seventh season in the league. Nelson took over the Valor’s starting quarterback job in Week 8 against Philadelphia, throwing for AFL season-high 345 yards and a Valor franchise-record seven touchdowns. In the nine games Nelson started, he led the league in both passing yards per game (246.6) and rushing yards per game (24.8). The Texas Southern alumnus totaled 250+ yards and 7+ touchdowns in each of his three postseason games with the Valor in 2018, including his ArenaBowl XXXI MVP performance against Baltimore.
“We are excited to have Arvell back this season,” Valor Head Coach Benji McDowell said. “Arvell proved his capability as a quarterback last season. He’s an experienced player and we’re excited to see what he’s able to accomplish in a full season of action.”
Additionally, Washington announced deals with James Atoe, who will play both offensive and defensive line, offensive linemen Will Corbin, Anthony Parker and Siosifa Tufunga, wide receiver Jared Dangerfield, defensive linemen Zack Bullock and Roderick Henderson and defensive backs Svante Davenport and Steffon Herd.
“It was important to us to hold on to the chemistry we developed late last season,” McDowell said. “It will make for an easy transition into this season as guys get ready for camp. We have a lot of guys that still feel like they have a lot to prove. Today’s signings are a great first step.”
Atoe, beginning his third season in the league, played each of the last two seasons with the Valor, starting a career-high 11 games in 2018, including ArenaBowl XXXI. Atoe graduated from the University of Washington.
“James Atoe was a vital part of our success last season and only got better as the season went along,” McDowell said. “He’s a versatile player that can play both sides of the line very well and will be a big part of what we do in 2019.”
Corbin has split time at offensive line and fullback throughout his first two seasons in the AFL, both with Washington. Corbin started nine games for the Valor in 2018. In 2017, Corbin led Washington with 119 rushing yards on the season to go along with three rushing touchdowns.
Parker enters his eighth season in the league and his third with the Valor. In his first two seasons, Parker started 19 regular season games and all three of Washington’s postseason games.
Tufunga played each of his first two seasons in the league with Washington, appearing in a total of nine games.
Dangerfield enters his second season in the league after appearing in 10 games for Washington in 2018, including a four-catch performance in ArenaBowl XXXI. The Western Kentucky alumnus recorded career highs of seven receptions and two touchdowns against Philadelphia in Week 8.
Bullock enters his third official season in the AFL, though his rookie season (2017) was spent on injured reserve with the Valor. In 2018, Bullock appeared in Washington’s final six games and started all three of the team’s postseason games. Bullock tallied a career-high four solo tackles against Albany in Game 2 of Washington’s semifinal series against the Empire.
Henderson spent his rookie season (2018) with Washington, appearing in three games.
Davenport made his AFL and Valor debut last season in Week 6 against Baltimore. The rookie went on to start seven games for Washington, including ArenaBowl XXXI, where he was named Defensive Player of the Game after recording two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Herd, a graduate of Northeastern State, enters his first season in the AFL after spending 2018 with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League.
ABOUT THE WASHINGTON VALOR
The AFL’s Washington Valor, 2018 ArenaBowl Champions, are owned and operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which is one of the largest integrated sports and entertainment companies in the country with one of the most diverse partnership groups in all of sports. MSE owns and operates seven professional sports teams: the Valor, AFL’s Baltimore Brigade, NBA's Washington Wizards, NBA G League’s Capital City Go-Go, NBA 2K League’s Wizards District Gaming, WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals. Monumental Sports & Entertainment is also co-owner of aXiomatic, which has controlling interest in global esports franchise Team Liquid, and owns and operates Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. Monumental Sports & Entertainment also manages MedStar Capitals Iceplex, the state-of-the-art training facility for the Capitals and EagleBank Arena on George Mason University's campus. In conjunction with the District of Columbia and Events DC, MSE is a partner in a new sports and entertainment facility in Southeast DC on the St. Elizabeth’s East campus that opened in September 2018.