Record Numbers Show For Gladiator Open Tryout

The bullets may not have been live, but the football lives of many men were on the line Saturday morning when a team-record 150 athletes arrived at Lost Nation Sports Park West in Lorain, Ohio for the Cleveland Gladiators’ annual Free Agent Combine presented by Phoenix KinetiCream.

Players from five states took part in Saturday’s tryout, as well as one camp hopeful who made the long trek from Brazil to Northeast Ohio for the chance to compete for a spot on the Gladiators’ roster. The players showcased their skills for Gladiators coaches, players, and staff during the four-hour event and made their case as to why they should take the field at The Q for the opening kickoff of the 2016 Arena Football season.

“You’re always looking for that diamond in the rough,” said Gladiators Head Coach Steve Thonn afterward. “You’re looking for a guy who comes out and tests really well… There were some good guys here, some guys we may bring back and take another look at.”

Thonn said the team’s previous five tryouts produced multiple signings, including last year, when wide receiver Josiah Holt, an Elyria native, joined the team from Baldwin Wallace University.

 “(The open tryout) is huge for us,” Thonn added. “We’re always going to find somebody that we think can help us out.”