Troy#039;s tragedy in the AFL

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2005

On Sunday afternoon fans witnessed something no one should ever have to witness. Al Lucas of the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League died as a result of a collision with a player from the New York Dragons.

Lucas was injured during a first-quarter kickoff return against the Dragons. Lucas was bending down to make a tackle when the ball-carrier and a blocker tumbled over his head and back. The blocker's leg collided with Lucas's head. The 26-year-old former Troy University Trojan fell to the turf and never got up.

Lucas was larger than life on the field. The big man stood 6-foot-1 and weighed 300 pounds He played for two seasons with the Carolina Panthers recording nearly 50 tackles in 20 games.

I had the opportunity to meet Lucas during my tenure at Troy University and this a great guy. Really respective of his friends and family, Lucas was not your stereotypical football player.

It is always sad to see when something like this happens. Anytime life is lost over meaningless circumstances, it just makes you stop and think and re-evaulate what's more important. For Lucas, his priorities were in order. He had a wife and a child and he also taught and volunteered his experience with football players at North-Macon High, where he went to high school.

"Al came into the Troy family, but he did not come alone," said Larry Blakeney, coach of the Trojans. "They have remained close to the Troy program. We are all hurting for them right now, this is such a terrible tragedy."

It's that simple.

Griffin Pritchard is the sports editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached via email: or via phone at 382-3111 ext. 122