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Steve Spurrier on NHL owners sudden bailout for AAF: Original investor backed out

Orlando Apollos will start practicing in Georgia because of Florida workers compensation laws. Coach Steve Spurrier on the NHL owners sudden bailout to AAF: Original investor backed out.

Orlando Apollos will start practicing in Georgia because of Florida workers compensation laws. Coach Steve Spurrier on the NHL owners sudden bailout to AAF: Original investor backed out.

Orlando Apolloscoach Steve Spurrier shed some new light on why Tom Dundon, the owner of theNHLs Carolina Hurricanes, supplied theAlliance of American Footballwith what appears to have been a $250 million league-saving lifeline earlier this week.

Spurrier, making his weekly appearance on my Open Mike radio show on FM 96.9 and AM 740, hinted Wednesday that an initial investor backed out and put the leagues working capital in jeopardy. This apparently is what led to league co-founder and CEO Charlie Ebersol to identify Dundon as the leagues financial savior.

I think what happened is an original investor sort of led us [Ebersol and the Alliance] into believing he could come up with the money to get us through the first year, and then he sort of bailed out, Spurrier said. He didnt have [the money], and we found Tom Dundon. I think [Dundon] liked the idea so much, he became the majority owner [of the league] and now were all set to go for quite a while.

We really appreciate Tom Dundon for stepping forward. He believes in the Alliance and now the future looks very good.

Ebersol, in an interviewwith the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday, did not get into the inner workings of the deal with Dundon, who was named the leagues chairman of the board on Monday when he became the Alliances biggest individual stakeholder. Dundons massive investment, Ebersol said, was a chance to solve the leagues money issues with one stroke of the pen.

After that first week of games, we were at the height of our valuation and were able to dictate our future, Ebersol said when asked by the Sentinel if the league was in a financial bind before Dundon bought in. We are a start-up, and start-ups usually raise money in pieces theres a Series A piece, Series B, Series C, etc. After the success of the first week, we had a number of investors come to us and offer us all kinds of different investments. Tom Dundon showed up and said, Do you want to continue to raise Series B, Series C and Series D or do you want to raise Series Infinity right now and be taken care of from now on? That was an offer I was not going to refuse.

The AAF now has given out six Player of the Week awards through the first two weeks of the schedule. Half of them have wound up in the hands of Orlando Apollos standouts.

The Apollos took two out of three following Sundays 37-29 comeback win at the San Antonio Commanders, with Garrett Gilbert taking offensive honors after passing for 393 yards and two touchdowns. Cornerback Keith Reaser was top defender for his 38-yard interception return for a touchdown that became the winning points.

The Apollos have monopolized Defensive Player of the Week honors thus far, with linebacker Terence Garvin selected in Week 1 also with the help of a late pick-six in a thrashing of Atlanta.

It feels great, said Reaser, who also batted away three other Logan Woodside passes. When youre out there playing, you really dont think about those other things. Youre just playing, trying to win the game. But thats a great accolade.

Two plays after the Apollos tied the game 29-29 on Jalin Marshalls 23-yard touchdown grab, Reaser jumped an out route by San Antonios Mekale McKay and sprinted untouched down the sideline.

Youve just got to capitalize on the opportunity, he said. And I did it at a key point when we really needed a turnover. It just all worked out perfectly.

Gilbert became the first man to throw for at least 300 yards in an AAF game, racking up all but four yards after a vexing first quarter that saw Orlando take just six offensive snaps. The Apollos began with a pair of three-and-outs, and San Antonio responded both times with long touchdown drives.

Gilbert hit just one of five passes in that opening quarter, going 18-for-23 the rest of the way for 389 yards. Four of Gilberts completions went for 40 yards or longer.

It was very much having to take advantage of our opportunities, said Gilbert, whose 620 yards passing thus far is 142 more than anyone else in the AAF.

Once we got to halftime, I dont think there was a doubt in anybodys mind. Not that there ever was; it was just a matter of getting our feet underneath us and executing.

Charles Johnson, who joined the Apollos midway through training camp, had seven receptions at San Antonio for 192 yards and a second-quarter touchdown.

I think [the award] could have gone to Charles just as easily, Gilbert said.

Johnson also leads the league in both catches (11) and receiving yards (272), with Marshall and Chris Thompson also among seven AAF receivers to reach 100 receiving yards through two weeks.

Being able to throw it around has been great, said Gilbert, a Texas native who starred at SMU after two years at the University of Texas. Its been a lot of fun so far, and weve still got a lot of room to improve.

Correspondent Jeff Shain contributed to this report.

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