Professional football coming to Columbiana

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

COLUMBIANA – Arena professional football is on its way to Columbiana as the Alabama Outlawz under new management have decided to move the team to the center of Shelby County for the 2017 Arena Pro Football season.

All of the Outlawz home games will be played at the Shelby County Exhibition Center located at 86 Argo Road in Columbiana.

“I never in my wildest dreams thought the city of Columbiana would have a professional football team,” Columbiana mayor Stancil Handley said. “We are looking forward to this being the Outlawz home. We are all in on this and the city is very excited.”

Previously of the X-League Indoor Football in Birmingham, the Outlawz started play in 2013 and in late 2016 announced they were one of three inaugural members of a new national arena football league and will be in a division that features the Florida Tarpons, Myrtle Beach Sharks, River City Raiders, Savannah Coastal Outlaws, and Richmond Rough Riders.

“We are excited to be here in Columbiana and represent the city of Columbiana,” said new owner of the team David Warren.

Warren went on to announce the hiring of head coach Darnell Robinson, who was previously the defensive coordinator of the Outlawz in Birmingham.

Robinson played football for and graduated from Alabama State University and has more than 10 years of coaching and playing experience.

“It’s with great honor that I receive this position as head football coach for the Alabama Outlawz,” Robinson said. “I believe in working hard and the results will follow. I will set the bar and my staff will set the bar for future Outlawz, we want to work hard to bring a championship here to Alabama.”

For the Outlawz and Shelby County it’s more than just football entertainment they will have on the local community as they make a strong effort to make an impact on the youth community and schools around Shelby County.

“We focus more on youth in each community,” Warren said. “We want to be involved in every elementary, middle and high school around the area. Our number one goal is to touch every youth in the community.”

The Outlawz will kick off the season traveling to Estero, Florida to take on the Tarpons and will play four road games before their first home game on April 15 against the Savannah Coastal Outlaws. A total of eight games will be played before the playoffs start June 3.

The official roster hasn’t been shared yet, but Warren and Robinson said former Alabama, Auburn, UAB and NFL players will be playing for the team. Some of those players include Vincent Hill, Dee Smith and Tommy Ford.

Games will also feature a lot of entertainment including post game concert with country, rock and pop artists making appearances. Warren also said their sponsors will help them do several things involving Disney so the kids can come out and get a lot of enjoyment during the event.

If you would like to be a part of the Outlawz, dance team tryouts will be held Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. at D1 in Homewood. You must be 18 years old or older and will have to perform a 45 second routine.

“Our mission is to provide affordable family fun in the community so that having fun is contagious,” Warren said. “We are committed to making a positive impact.”