On Friday, the Tampa Bay Storm announced four acquisitions, including two key wide receivers, Kendrick Ings and Michael Lindsey, who return to the team. They join Joe Hills as the only wide receivers currently on the Storm roster. The Storm also announced the acquisitions of two-time ArenaBowl Champion defensive lineman Austin Dillon and defensive back Chris Pickett.
Ings (5’10”, 180 lbs.) comes back to the team that signed him in 2015 after a preseason tryout after spending time in both the Canadian and National Football Leagues. in just five games in 2016, Ings caught 20 passes for 243 yards and two scores. As dangerous as he was as a receiver, he was even more dangerous as a kick returner.
In those same five games, Ings became the Storm’s leading returner averaging 116.4 yards per game. He returned 28 kicks for 582 yards and a touchdown. In his short two-year career, Ings has already registered 88 catches for 1,240 yards and 17 scores, while returning 110 kicks for 2,017 yards and four additional touchdowns. As vice president of football operations, Jeff Gooch, put it:
“Kendrick can have an impact on offense and special teams. He’s proven to be a tremendous athlete over the past two seasons. His experience in the CFL and the NFL has only improved his talent.”
Gooch also had equally high praise of Michael Lindsey, who is a much-needed triple threat for the Storm.
“Michael has the ability to play in all phases of the game. His capacity to play on offense, defense and special teams makes him a valuable asset that any team would love to have. We’re glad he is back with the Storm.”
After playing in college at Northwest Mississippi, Lindsey (6’1″, 218 lbs.) signed with the Storm in 2011 and never looked back. As the primary kick returner, Lindsey set the franchise record with 1,745 kick return yards as a rookie, and currently holds the top three seasons as a kick returner, and on April 26, 2014, he passed AFL Hall of Famer and Storm legend George LaFrance for the franchise record. He enters this season with 6,039 career kick return yards.
Not to be defined as just a kick returner, Lindsey is one of the last true ironmen in the game. As a receiver, he has 196 catches for 2,132 yards an 27 touchdowns in five seasons. As a jack linebacker, he’s recorded 54.5 tackles, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, an interception, and a pass breakup. Lindsey summed up the news best himself:
“What a great feeling to be back with the Storm. I started my career in Tampa and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings.”
To round out the signings, Austin Dillon and Chris Pickett will add toughness and tackling to the Storm defense. Dillon (6’5″, 270 lbs.), a six-year veteran, comes to Tampa Bay afte spending 2016 with the Jacksonville Sharks. This is Dillon’s fourth AFL team, winning two ArenaBowls with the Arizona Rattlers before spending time with the Portland Thunder and LA KISS. In his career, Dillon has registered 74.5 tackles (13.0 for loss), 8.5 sacks, 8 pass breakups, an interception, and a forced fumble.
A two-sport athlete at North Alabama, the Hammond, LA, native was a four-year starter on the basketball team while playing linebacker and defensive end. As a Lion, he registered 62.0 tackles, 15.0 sacks, and an interception, and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
“Antron is an athletic defensive player that can create problems for opposing offenses. He has a high motor which is what we are looking for in a defensive player. We can’t wait to see him out there on the field.”
Dillon’s teammate with the Sharks, Chris Pickett, joins the Storm for his first full season. Pickett (5’11”, 200 lbs.), a native of Crestview, FL, played four years at Troy University. As a Trojan, he appeared in 44 games, registering 206 total tackles (10.0 for loss), defended 14 passes, forced five fumbles, and recovered two fumbles.