By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
DeJuan Alfonzo, the jack linebacker of the Philadelphia Soul, recently took time to do a Question and Answer session with The Capital Sports Report. His interview is about his sports career and views.
TCSR: What was it like playing college football at Indiana State?
DA: “It was a good time. I learned a lot there, the most I can get out of school. I had some success there, with great coaches. We really didn’t do that well as far as the wins and losses, so there was a disappointment in losing a lot of games. But it definitely helped me get to where I am today though.”
TCSR: How did the NFL training camp experience with the Baltimore Ravens help you make the transition to the Indoor Football game with the Indiana Firebirds?
DA: “When I first got to Baltimore, I knew it was tough for me to make the team. It was my drive and will – and I told myself that I wasn’t going to have to make a hard decision on releasing me. I think being out there with the greats like Rod Woodson and Ray Lewis helped me prepare before. Then, after leaving there, I took the same mentality into the Firebirds. I always wanted to do what’s right and study in order to do everything that I needed to do in order to make the team.”
TCSR: What was it like winning the 2006 Ironman of the Year Award with the Chicago Rush?
DA: “It’s hard work. Coach Ho (Hohensee) gave me an opportunity when I got released from Indiana. He helped me learn the game and gave me the opportunity in 2006 to be out there and play. I’m a believer. I play hard and run to everything, while being accountable for the things that I do. The people voted me in.”
TCSR: What was it like becoming the “jack” linebacker in 2007, a new position in the league at that time after being just a defensive specialist?
DA: “I was always one of those guys on the scout team that was playing a position that I had never played before. My role was a defensive specialist, but a few times each practice, I would be in the jack linebacker position making plays. Coach Ho said to me that I think I have the position for you and that you are now going to be a jack linebacker. I learned the position – it was a new position – so I wanted to be the best at it. It took hard work, and here I am.”
TCSR: playing for coach Hohensee with the Chicago Rush
DA: “He’s a great coach. He’s also a winning coach. He’s a Tony Dungy-type of coach – hardly ever yells or says a curse word. He makes you accountable for your own actions. He treats you like a man, and all of his players act like men, because of the way he treats us. He came here (to Philadelphia) and I said to my family that if I decided to come back for this season, it was going to be with coach Ho, wherever he was going to be. Now, I’m here with him.”
TCSR: What was it like signing with the Chicago Slaughter and winning the CIFL Championship with them in 2009?
DA: “It was great! Any time you win a championship, it is great! They are always hard to come by. I don’t care what level of football that you play. We went down there – some of the guys from the Rush – and we played well. We went 14-0 and hoisted up the trophy. It was a good time.”
TCSR: What was it like being coached by Steve “Mongo” McMichael with the Chicago Slaughter?
DA: “He’s a good guy. You know Steve McMichael, because he’s loud. And he tells jokes on the old Chicago Bears and the things that they did back in the 1980s. He’s a really good guy and I like being around him. He showed us Arena Football League players a lot of love.”
TCSR: Does it have any special meaning to you to win the Ironman of the Year Award again after the situation with the league, where it had to fold for a year and eventually come back?
DA: “When I came back, I sat down with coach Ho and he said that my role is going to be different. He said my role was going to change to more of a leadership role, as a lot of the guys that were playing in the league were going to be new players and didn’t really know the game. I’m not a loud talker, but I lead by example. I felt like I had to put more effort into my lead, so these guys can follow. With that, it just so happened that I won the Award again.”
TCSR: What has it been like as a member of the Philadelphia Soul after signing with them during training camp?
DA: “I haven’t gotten to experience the City part of it yet, but from what people have told me, it’s the Chicago of the East Coast. If its anything like Chicago, its going to be a great place. I think the fans are happy to have the Arena Football League back in Philly. From my understanding, they were putting 17,000 people into the Arena each night. I’m looking forward to playing in front of that many people again.”