29 December 2000


Outlaws Add Depth on O-Line, at RB, TE and WR; Six Waived to Meet Training Camp Limit

Press Release Courtesy of the Las Vegas Outlaws

LAS VEGAS (Friday, December 29, 2000) - The Las Vegas Outlaws today added eight players in the XFL Supplemental Draft, as VP/General Manager Bob Ackles and Head Coach Jim Criner put the final touches on the 70-man roster that will arrive in Las Vegas on January 1 for the team's Inaugural Training Camp.

"I'm very excited about being able to get four of the top five guys we had on today's board," said Criner. "We addressed some needs and improved already strong positions on our team, especially on the offensive side of the ball. We were able to add immediate challengers to starting positions on the offensive line, at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end, and at defensive end and kicker."

With the fourth overall pick, Criner and the Outlaws selected offensive tackle Jon Blackman, a former Philadelphia Eagle and Detroit Lion who attended college at Purdue. Blackman is joined by four other offensive players: QB Mike Cawley, formerly of the Buffalo Bills; WR Brett Bech, who spent four seasons with the New Orleans Saints; former Colorado State standout TE Eli Workman; RB Pepe Pearson, who starred at Ohio State before training with the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

On the defensive side of the ball, Las Vegas selected two players: DE Carl Simpson, a 7-year NFL veteran who spent six seasons with the Chicago Bears before moving on to the Arizona Cardinals; and former Vanderbilt DE John DeWitt. The final Outlaws selection was K Omar Cardenas, a Mexican national who is expected to compete for the Outlaws' punter/kicker roster spot.

"Now we're ready to kick things off next week," said Ackles, on the eve of his 48th professional training camp. "We have 70 quality players competing for 38 roster spots and everyone is looking forward to the intensity, contact and excitement of major-league professional football in Las Vegas."

With 69 players on the roster entering today's draft, the Outlaws were forced to waive six players in order to reach the 70-man roster limit for Training Camp (wide receiver Jake Hoffart broke his collarbone after being blindsided by a snowmobile in Lake Tahoe). Following is a list of recent transactions for the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL:

Friday, Dec. 29, 2000: Added OT Jon Blackman, QB Mike Cawley, WR Brett Bech, TE Eli Workman, RB Pepe Pearson, DE Carl Simpson, DE John DeWitt and K Omar Cardenas; Waived QB Ty Grovesteen, TE Giles Cole, C Josh Heskew, OT Harvey Goins, RB Clinton Childs and DE Blaine Berger; Placed WR Jake Hoffart on the Reserve - Non-Football Injury list

IMPORTANT NOTE: Outlaws Head Coach Jim Criner recalled OT Harvey Goins from waivers today due to a late-arising injury situation regarding OG Jeremy Mankins ... Therefore, Mankins is NOT joining Las Vegas in camp while Goins, previously announced as waived, WILL join the team in camp ...

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2000: Added DE Vince Amey;

Monday, Dec. 18, 2000: Added LB Kurt Gouveia, RB Vershan Jackson;
Waived QB Chris Kasteler, LB Tom Matijacic, K Mike Scott and DE Andre Wray;

Thursday, Dec. 14, 2000: Added OL Lonnie Palelei;

Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2000: Added WR Cedric Tillman, RB Clinton Childs;
Waived WR Tariq McDonald, RB Orlando Smith;

Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2000: Added LB Mike Crawford;
Placed WR Randall Lane on injured reserve


OT Jon Blackman: "By adding Jon Blackman to our offensive line, we addressed our #1 need … He is an outstanding, experienced tackle with an excellent chance to compete for a starting position on our team … He and OT Lonnie Palelei played together at Philadelphia and know what it takes to succeed."

QB Mike Cawley: "Mike brings us another experienced, mobile athlete at the QB position … He can compete at a high level and will push the others … In a sense, he gives us three starters and one young player at our QB position."

WR Brett Bech: "Brett is coming off four solid years at New Orleans, so he brings us tremendous experience and can play the role of big, possession and outside receiver … He will challenge immediately to start on this team and strengthens an already strong receiving corp."

DT Carl Simpson: "This former Arizona Cardinal and six-year player for the Chicago Bears is a physical DT who can push the pocket and pressure the QB while bringing lateral containment on the run."

TE Eli Workman: "Eli is tough, tough, tough … He was in Arizona's camp and brings the smashmouth approach to both the TE and H-back positions."

RB Pepe Pearson: "Many remember Pepe from his Ohio State days and don't realize he's had 3 good years as a professional, two on Pittsburgh's practice squad and one in NFL Europe … He brings the cutback ability and field vision we need to our running back position … He can also block very well and catch the ball out of the backfield."

DE John DeWitt: "John played for me for two seasons with the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe … He is a very smart, pass-rushing end who is also strong on special teams."

K Omar Cardenas: "Omar is a great story … He sent us film of his workouts in Mexico with a semi-pro team, and our Player Personnel Director Don Gregory had also seen him in the past … He is a Mexican national with great athletic ability who can consistently hit 50-yard field goals and also has a strong leg as a two-step punter."

On January 1, 2001, the four XFL Western Conference teams come to Las Vegas for January's Training Camp. The Outlaws will be joined at the Sam Boyd Stadium practice fields by the Los Angeles Xtreme, while the Memphis Maniax will train at Foothill High School in Henderson and the San Francisco Demons will train at Cimarron Memorial High School in northwest Las Vegas, near Summerlin.

On Wednesday, January 3, 2001, the world will enjoy its first opportunity to see the 70 Outlaws players practicing in pads as Las Vegas prepares to kick off its inaugural season exactly one month later. January's practice schedule features twice-daily sessions at Sam Boyd, which are open to the public. Rosters will be cut to 63 players on Sunday, January 14, and 55 players on Sunday, January 21. One week later, on Sunday, January 28, the final 45 Las Vegas Outlaws will be selected, with 38 on the active roster and an additional seven players placed on the practice squad.