For the Tampa Bay Storm, the offseason turned into a gigantic roller coaster. However, to once again quote Team President Derrick Brooks: “We’re looking forward to the 2017 season.” That became very clear when the Storm acquired nine players through offseason assignments, including returning quarterback Randy Hippeard.
Hippeard, who spent the last two seasons with the I-4 rival Orlando Predators, comes back to the team that gave him his first starting job in 2013. Halfway through that season, he appeared in two games in relief of Adrian McPherson, who suffered a late-season, season-ending injury four weeks later, forcing Hippeard into the starting job for the remainder of the regular season.
While he was 0-4 as a starter (during the Storm’s franchise record eight game losing streak, including the first round of the playoffs), he did complete 58.8% of his passes for 20 touchdowns against just four interceptions, good enough to cement the starting job in 2014.
While Hippeard fared well as a full-time starter, throwing for more than 4,400 yards and 93 touchdown passes against 23 interceptions with a passer rating of better than 104, the Storm did not do as well on the field, finishing 8-10 (one win better than ’13), but missing out on the playoffs.
Hippeard had better on-field team performances as a Predator, but injuries cost him a total of 11 games and consideration of potentially multiple offensive player awards (his quarterback rating both seasons exceeded 120, and he completed 74.2 percent of his passes in ’15).
Hippeard now rejoins the Storm as one of three quarterbacks on the roster (Jason Boltus and Warren Smith being the other two, as Adam Kennedy is listed as Suspended by the League), hoping to provide a steady hand in what was a carousel under center for a 2-14 Tampa Bay team hoping to return to former glory in 2017.