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Quad City Steamwheelers Assigned First Three Players for 2007

Wednesday November 8, 2006

November 8, 2006, (Davenport, IA) – The Quad City Steamwheelers announced today that the arenafootball2 league has assigned OL/DL Matt O’Shea along with quarterbacks J.J. Raterink (RAT-ur-rink) and Matt Pike to the team.

"These are three great players for the Steamwheelers," said Head Coach Sean Ponder. "With a great defensive lineman and two outstanding quarterbacks I feel that this is a good nucleus to build the rest of our team around."

O’Shea was a defensive tackle at The University of Nebraska. As a senior he appeared in five games after sitting out his junior season with an injury. The communication studies major was a member of the 2004 Big 12 Commissioners Honor Roll. He is currently listed at 6-foot-1 and 300 pounds.

"Everything I have been told about O’Shea is that he is NFL caliber," said Ponder. "The only reason he currently isn’t playing on Sunday’s is because the scouts did not have enough film on him. I fully expect him to be an anchor to our defensive line."

Raterink played for the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings last season. With the Battle Wings the rookie quarterback threw for 2,936 yards and 43 touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 212 pound quarterback was the backup at Wyoming during his senior season. During that season he threw for 373 yards and four touchdowns.

"Raterink is one of the young up-and-coming quarterbacks in the af2," said Ponder. "He is a quarterback that likes to air out the football. He fits very well in my ‘touchdown to check-down’ philosophy. If he ends up being as good as I think he can be, he will have an opportunity to play in the AFL in 2008."

Fan favorite Matt Pike has returned for another season with the Steamwheelers. The long-time Steamwheelers backup quarterback will be in a Quad City uniform for a fourth season. Pike is considered one of the best backup quarterbacks in the af2. Last season he threw for 365 yards and 10 touchdowns on 47 attempts.

"Matt Pike is without a doubt one of the best backup quarterbacks in the af2," said Ponder. "With his return we should be very competitive at quarterback. Pike will have an opportunity to earn the starting role in practice this year, but even if he doesn’t he is a team player that will show up every day and will be ready to take over the reigns of the team if called upon."

The Steamwheelers plan to have several more players assigned to them in the coming weeks. They will also hold another open tryout on Sunday, December 3 for players interested in trying out for an opportunity to make the squad. Details on the tryout will be released early next week.