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Lions sign Bergeron

Troy Bergeron is calling the Columbus Civic Center home again.

The 2005 Arena Football League Rookie of the Year signed Wednesday with the Columbus Lions. The wide receiver returns to indoor football in his hometown for the first time since he played for the af2’s Columbus Wardogs in 2004.

Bergeron, a three-year starter at Shaw and a member of the Raiders’ 2000 state championship team, said he expects to fit right in on a team packed with other players from the Chattahoochee Valley area as well as former teammates. Defensive back Damian Daniels also played at Shaw, and kicker Carlos Martinez played with Bergeron on the AFL’s Georgia Force.

“Damian was at the Force camp a couple years ago, and we’ve kept in touch since then, and I’m excited to play with him again,” Bergeron said. “I played with Carlos on the Force for a couple of years, so I know him, too. It’ll be good to play with these guys again.”

Bergeron received several offers from teams in Canada and worked out with the Dallas Cowboys before choosing to stay in Georgia. He said he wanted to keep his family in the state and be in a position to play in the AFL if it returns next season.

The 2000 Ledger-Enquirer Offensive Player of the Year joins the Lions after they eked out a 50-49 season-opening victory Saturday at the Carolina Speed and will have only three practices to get on the same page with the rest of the team before it hosts the Speed on Sunday.

“I feel pretty confident that I know the indoor game enough that I can come in and play with the team right away,” Bergeron said. “Hopefully, the guys will accept me. From what (coach Jason Gibson) says, they will. I’m looking forward to playing with them.”

Although Bergeron said he plans to move back to the AFL next season, the Lions are glad to have him for this season on lease.

“This guy is the Tom Brady of indoor football,” Gibson said. “I think he’s the best of the best in this sport. Hopefully, we’ll find the right way to utilize him and put him to good use for the one year we have him.”