HEISMAN TROPHY WINNER CARRIES MANIAX THROUGH XTREME CONDITIONS; "RAYBO" DOMINATING AS HITMEN SILENCE ENFORCERS FOR FIRST WIN
STAMFORD, CONN. (Tuesday, February 27, 2001) - The XFL today named Memphis Maniax RB Rashaan Salaam as its Offensive Player of the Week and New York/New Jersey Hitmen DE Israel Raybon as its Defensive Player of the Week for week four.
Memphis' Heisman Trophy winner ignored a torrential downpour and subsequent terrible field conditions at the L.A. Coliseum to blast through the Los Angeles defense for 126 yards on 26 carries. The total included a 21-yard TD run in the second quarter which would prove to be the game-winning score as the Maniax dropped the Xtreme, 18-12, on Sunday night.
"That weather was the worst I've ever played in," Salaam said after the game. "I got used to the footing as the game went on but I was never able to go at full speed. The line opened up some great holes for me and I wish I could have gone full speed because I would have had some really long runs."
Salaam leads the XFL with 404 rushing yards on the season, and his 4.7 yards-per-carry average is second only to Chicago's John Avery (5.2).
For the Hitmen, "Raybo" recorded three sacks and racked up six tackles as NY/NJ survived a rain-soaked Saturday night at Soldier Field to shut out the Enforcers, 13-0, for the Hitmen's first win of the season.
NY/NJ's defense was dominating in shutting-out Chicago, holding the Avery-less team to just 65 total net yards on the day.
"I told (Chicago QB Tim) Lester he was going to be in for a long night," said Raybon. "When I sacked him the first time, I said, 'Remember me. I'll see you next time you drop back.'"
Raybon is second in the XFL with five sacks on the season and his 21 tackles ranks him 10th in the league in that category.
HATE ME" OFFENSIVE RUNNER-UP, TEAMMATE TUIPALA DEFENSIVE
Runner-up for offensive honors was Las Vegas RB Rod "He Hate Me" Smart, who helped the transition to new QB Mark Grieb by racking up 88 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, helping the Outlaws to a crucial, 16-9 win in San Francisco's "Hell Hole," Pac Bell Park. Smart also banged across from two yards out for a one-point conversion after Grieb hooked up with Mike Furrey on a 41-yard bomb for Vegas' second touchdown.
Defensive runner-up was Outlaws LB Joseph Tuipala. "Samoan Light" registered five tackles in Sunday's win over San Francisco. In the first half, Tuipala twice sacked Demons QB Mike Pawlawski, forcing fumbles both times that the Outlaws recovered.