April 3, 2017 –
The Monterrey Steel faced off against the Corpus Christi Rage in Corpus Christi, TX. Fullback Johnathen Lugo took a handoff, then things took a turn for the worse. Lugo would tear his ACL, break his fibula and dislocate his ankle all on one play.
He didn’t see it as that big an issue, telling Inside the Arena it was all a matter of when could he return to the Steel, not if. Then, he got the news.
A friend of Lugo’s called him while he was on his way to the gym to work out to tell him that the Steel had ceased operations. The news came as a shock to him.
“I was planning on trying to finish my career there [in Mexico] or at least play arena [football] there as long as I could unless I progress up to the CFL or NFL,” Lugo said.
After that news was broken to him, there were more questions on his mind. “I was definitely unsure about my future. I didn’t know who would sign me – who would want to sign me after having such a serious injury.”
Despite the uncertainty, Lugo knew one thing. “I knew if it was possible for me to come back, I had to come back and I had to prove to myself that I could come back and I could be better than I was before,” he said.
Luckily for him, he was signed by the Florida Tarpons on Dec. 20. He’s very happy to be playing in Lakeland, FL in 2018, as well. “I feel like I could provide what they were missing in getting a championship,” he said.
Joining Lugo will be 18-year veteran quarterback Chris Wallace and superstar wide receiver Joe Hills, among other big-name players. Florida lost the Arena Pro Football Championship game to the Richmond Roughriders on June 10, 2017.
The Tarpons, along with Lugo, will be looking for a comeback season as they play at the Atlanta Havoc to open their season on March 17. As all other teams in the American Arena League, they will be looking to play in the inaugural title game on Saturday, June 30.