TRACY PRESS: Overton signs arenafootball2 contract

Former Viking defensive end and long snapper to play for Tri-Cities Fever

Dec. 14, 2007

TRACY, Calif. - Former Bulldog gets his shot at arena league football.

It's not quite the National Football League, which 2003 Tracy High graduate Matt Overton got more than a taste of during workouts with the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.

But a year in arenafootball2 beats a year not playing football at all.

Overton, who played defensive end and long-snapped for Western Washington University, was signed Nov. 29 to the 20-man roster of the af2's Tri-Cities Fever, based in Kennewick, Wash., five hours away to the southwest from Overton's college town of Bellingham, Wash.

He'll play fullback/linebacker for the Fever, who open their season March 28 against the Stockton Lightning.

"It's going to allow me to show more versatility and hopefully raise my stock as a long-snapper (for the NFL)," he said via cell-phone from Bellingham, where he wrapped up the fall semester at WWU. "We'll see what happens."

Overton was slated to graduate in the spring, but that'll go on hold for at least a few months. The af2 season runs from March to July, when NFL camps open back up.

After trying out as a long-snapper for the Seahawks last spring and the 49ers last summer, Overton drew the attention of the af2 squad after working out for the Arena Football League's San Jose Sabrecats in early November. He didn't crack the AFL team's roster, but he was contacted and offered a contract with the Fever shortly thereafter.

Af2 players make only $200 a game plus a winning bonus, but the Fever's sponsors own a housing complex for players in Kennewick. Meals are provided, and players have the opportunity to work part-time when not practicing.

Overton hasn't played offense since high school and has never seen the eight-man indoor game in person -- only on television -- but he's nothing if not optimistic.

"I'm excited," he said. "Bottom line is I get a chance to compete again and get myself on film. Hopefully, I'll stay healthy and have a productive season."

Matt Overton