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Hilo Grad Clay Explores Football Options

November 13, 2015, 6:54 PM HST
* Updated November 13, 7:00 PM
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Charles Clay never thought that playing professional football coming out of Hilo High School was a realistic option. Now, he has a few options of where he wants to go with his football career.

Clay just completed his first stint in the Arena Football League, where he played four games for the L.A. KISS. He recorded 7.5 tackles and added a fumble recovery.

The KISS recently renewed Clay’s rookie contract, but an opportunity to get back into 11-man football is on the horizon for the former Southern Methodist University and University of Hawai’i standout. It’s an upstart league called Major League Football.

First notice about Major League Football came to Clay through his agent. “When he told me about this league, he said ‘I know people that are running it and are getting it going and they are very trustworthy people and reputable people. This one is one that we are looking into.'”

Major League Football is scheduled to kick off in Spring of 2016. It calls itself a “a publicly traded, professional spring football league. MLFB is dedicated to creating an innovative, accessible, and fan-owned game.” Former National Football League head coach and current ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards is listed as a Senior Advisor for the league and its management team.

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It is an investment for anyone to take part in tryouts for MLFB. Clay said that he had to pay a $250 registration fee to attend the tryout, which was held in Temecula, Calif. On top of that, he had already bought a plane ticket back home to Hilo, and had to buy another one to head back to California.

Major League Football image.

Major League Football image.

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There were 30 people at Clay’s tryout, which he described as small as compared to other tryouts in other leagues, such as the Canadian Football League. Coaches at the tryout said that it was by design, saying that their credentials were vetted before being selected for the tryout.

“It was really well done. The coaches that were talking to us, the one that ran the DB drills, they all had 20-25 years of experience with NFL coaching, assistant coaches, and professional teams,” Clay explained. “I was already positive about the league. I was 2-3 more times positive about the league and very happy when I left.”

No cities have been announced, but MLFB says it it partnering with cities that don’t currently have a NFL franchise. Announcements, as well as a schedule, are expected within the next few months.

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Clay does not have a guaranteed spot in the new league, and will have to earn it at training camp in February. If that doesn’t work out, a spot with the KISS is still there for him.

If he decides to rejoin the KISS, he ix expected to have another Hawai’i alum with him in offensive lineman Kody Afusia. He played the last four games of the season with the KISS last year, three along the offensive line.

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