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Former Raider Marinovich Joins Arena League's Avengers

March 19, 2000|MIKE TERRY

The Los Angeles Avengers are offering quarterback Todd Marinovich another local fling at professional football.

The former USC standout and Los Angeles Raider first-round draft pick was signed by the Arena Football League expansion team Saturday, a day before the training camp opens.

"This is a chance to play football in my home area, which is exciting to me," Marinovich said. "I have seen a few [Arena] games on television, so it will be something new. But it's still football."

Marinovich spent last season with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League.

"We're extremely excited about adding a skilled player like Todd Marinovich to our football team," Avenger Coach Stan Brock said.

Marinovich, 30, passed for a national-record 9,194 yards at Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley High. At USC, he started for two seasons.

The Raiders made him a first-round pick in 1991. He played two seasons but his NFL career was cut short when the Raiders released him in 1993. Marinovich signed with the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers but suffered a season-ending knee injury in his first practice.

In 1997, Marinovich was arrested at his Dana Point home after Orange County Sheriff's deputies found marijuana plants, a syringe and prescription medicine not in his name. He later pleaded guilty to a felony charge of cultivating marijuana and a misdemeanor charge of illegally possessing the prescription medicine, and served a three-month jail sentence.

"It's definitely a day-to-day process," Marinovich said of his battles with drug abuse. "I'm not looking into the future. I'm just excited about the opportunity. I know my past will be brought up but that is nature of the business."

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