Alumni Update: A.J. Dalton assigned to Orlando Predators of AFL

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Alumni Update: A.J. Dalton assigned to Orlando Predators of AFL

Dalton (76) made 37 career starts for Robert Morris

Dalton (76) made 37 career starts for Robert Morris

Chris Bombardo

Dalton (76) made 37 career starts for Robert Morris

Chris Bombardo

Chris Bombardo

Dalton (76) made 37 career starts for Robert Morris

Chris Mueller, Sports Editor

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Former Robert Morris All-American offensive lineman A.J. Dalton has been assigned to the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League, per an announcement on the team’s official website.

After spending NFL training camp with the Detroit Lions, news came on Sep. 29 that Dalton had reached agreements with the Pittsburgh Power, also of the AFL. Now, two weeks later, the 6-foot-3, 320 pound Dalton will be heading down south for the next stop in his career.

“Several AFL teams contacted me the first day of free agency for their league,” said Dalton. “I wanted to play and wanted to stay in Pittsburgh, so I signed with the Power. Later on that week, we had a couple issues with the contract, and therefore I became a free agent again.”

Orlando head coach Rob Keefe, a friend of RMU assistant head coach Scott Farison, then called Dalton shortly thereafter and offered him a one-year rookie deal. The Predators went 11-7 and won the American Conference-South division in 2014.

“He [Keefe] thinks I’m a pretty good player and wants to bring me in,” Dalton said. “Hopefully, I can add something to the team they haven’t had before and we can make a deep run to the Arena Bowl.”

Although Dalton’s sights were set on cracking an NFL roster, a stop in the AFL isn’t the end of the road for him.

“This is still kind of like my rookie debut,” he said. “I played in three games with the Lions, but this will give me a chance to put really good film together playing at a high level still. It will be for me to showcase my talent to NFL teams so when it comes time for training camp or offseason activities, they can call me up and know that I’m ready.”

Four players from the Predators’ roster were invited to NFL training camps last year, and current Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was a former coach of the franchise, where he won the Arena Bowl in 1998 and 2000.

The Predators play their home games in the Amway Center, which is also used by the Orlando Magic of the NBA. The AFL regular season will kickoff in March.

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