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Zac Murphy signs with Cleveland Gladiators

By Jordan Rinard
On April 1, 2014

This story is satirical. 

Former Miami punter Zac Murphy will be taking his talents to northwest Ohio as he has signed a two-year deal for an undisclosed amount with the Cleveland Gladiators of the Arena Football League. The prolific punter from Cincinnati, Ohio, who was named an All-America honorable mention by SI.com and second-team All-America by SB Nation, is coming off of a senior season in which he averaged 46.6 yards per punt, had 25 punts of over 50 years, and downed 18 punts inside the 20-yard line. He owns the program records for attempted punts and punting yards with 251 and 10,485 yards, respectively, and is third all-time with 41.6 yards per punt.

"We are excited to have Zac be a part of the Gladiator family," the team said in a press release Monday. "We will respect his prior commitment to earn his bachelor's degree from Miami University. We have big plans for Zac when he comes into Cleveland in late May and we look forward to working with him to get acclimated to the Arena game. We also feel that his athletic ability can pay huge dividends for us as we make our way through the American Conference East Division on our path to our first AFL title in franchise history."

The Gladiators are currently 1-0 (1-0 East) on the season after a 63-53 road victory over the Pittsburgh Power on March 15.

There is no word on what Murphy's role on the team will be, as there are no punts in Arena Football. It is also unclear why the Gladiators signed Murphy instead of other AFL free agents. It is assumed that he will be the back-up to starting kicker Aaron Pettrey, but rumors have surfaced that the possibility of him playing other positions on offense and defense is also fairly significant. Murphy will join former RedHawk Brandon Stephens on the team, who is a defensive back for Cleveland.

"You can't help but be excited for him," high school friend and teammate Jeffrie Derpington said in regards to Murphy. "I mean, he's not just a punter: he's an artist. He creates mosaics with his foot. The Gladiators apparently saw the same thing everyone else saw and made him an offer. I can see him moving around a lot on both sides of the ball. He's just a playmaker and a transcendent talent. He is going to change the way the Arena game is played. He could very well go down as the Jim Thorpe of the AFL. It's also good that he gets to stay in the state. I'll be looking forward to making several trips north to watch him play."

Murphy and the Gladiator coaching staff could not be reached for comment for this article. The punter will join Cleveland following Miami's commencement weekend on May 17-18, and will be looking to make his AFL debut at home on May 23 against the Philadelphia Soul.

 


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