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Outlaws aim to include locals in winning formula

The Las Vegas Outlaws already have many of the elements to be successful off the field. Now they are building the elements to be successful on the 50-yard arena football field.

The team announced that Aaron Garcia, one of the most prolific quarterbacks in Arena Football League history, has been hired as its head coach. He played in the AFL for 19 years, winning Arena Bowl XXIV, being named MVP of the title game, and twice being named the league’s offensive player of the year.

Garcia has been a part of several expansion teams. He helped start a team in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2010, and the Sharks won a league championship in their second year. He also played for the expansion San Antonio Talons in 2012, which had the best record of an expansion team. He also joined the Los Angeles Kiss midway through the 2014 season.

He has his own ideas of how to build a successful Arena Football League expansion franchise.

“It’s a privilege to be here in this great city,” he said. “I want to thank the ownership group for this opportunity. I’ve believed in this league for a long time, and I’ve been a part of this league for a long time. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to bring great players to Las Vegas and treat them the way I always wanted to be treated as a player.

“We’ll also treat fans fairly; the way I’ve always thought fans should be treated. And hopefully, we’ll bring a championship to Las Vegas. There is so much excitement about being a part of this team and franchise. Obviously, (Vince Neil, Bob Hewko and Mark Daniels) are going to take care of the entertainment, and we’ll take care of the product you see on the field.”

The excitement among the available free agents has led to some important singings. Quarterback J.J. Raterink and wide receiver Donovan Morgan signed to play with the Outlaws. Both Raterink and Morgan played with Garcia last year with the Kiss. Garcia replaced Raterink as quarterback last season and served as the team’s offensive coordinator.

The Outlaws also signed quarterback Sean Brackett, wide receiver Jamarko Simmons and nose guard Mark Weivoda.

Garcia said the key to success and attracting top players is all about respecting the players. If the players are treated as professionals, that will show on the field.

“It’s just respecting players and getting players in here who want to work and play, not just for myself or the organization, but for the fans,” he said.

“There are some great athletes in this league, and right now there are three to four teams that are doing it right. If you look at the standings there is a big gap between the haves and have-nots.

“There is a way players want to be treated. They don’t make NFL money, but there are other things you can do. … Make them feel like they are coming to work each day as professionals, and if you do that, they come out and play at a different level and enjoy what they are doing. To me, that is the biggest thing.”

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