Tri-Cities Fever coach Adam Shackleford has an interesting problem.
Because his team made it all the way to the Indoor Football League championship last season -- losing 37-10 to the Sioux Falls Storm -- he's finding it quite easy to sign players for the upcoming season.
Too easy, in fact. He's had to slow things down, making sure he's bringing in the right guys.
"We've had some brutally honest conversations with some players this week," he said. "We've got to use balance and honesty (in these signings)."
The last two seasons, Shackleford had to work a lot harder in signing players.
But nine Fever players from last season have signed with Arena Football League squads this offseason, and other players notice that.
"Word is spreading quickly that we try to move players up," he said. "Some other teams in this league will try to keep players from moving up the ladder. We feel every time we move one up, two more notice."
Currently, Shackleford has 22 players signed to the roster -- even though the season doesn't begin until February.
Among those who have signed recently is defensive back Lionell Singleton, who has played all or parts of the past two seasons for the Fever.
Singleton is the second returning player to sign with the Fever from last season's championship game squad. Linebacker Brandon Wilson re-signed in early October.
Last season, Singleton had five interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He also finished second on the team with 67 tackles.
He's also made the Tri-Cities his offseason home.
"I started an after-school program at Eastgate elementary in Kennewick," Singleton said. "The kids love the Fever, and it's been good for me, just being able to help out the kids. Coach asked me to come back and I'm still in pretty good shape."
Another player recently signed is linebacker Boris Lee out of Troy University, who has had stints with three NFL teams, most recently the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010. He has also been with the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers.
At Troy, Lee was named to the first-team all-Sun Belt Conference team three times. In his collegiate career, he amassed 397 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, 19 pass break-ups and eight interceptions.
"Boris Lee is as dominant of player as we have ever signed here," Shackleford said. "He brings the whole package. Talent, leadership, and character.
"Here's a guy had who has has three NFL contracts," he continued. "Teams keep giving him a chance for a reason."
Wide receiver Desmond Tardy, who played last season with the now-defunct Fairbanks Grizzlies, also has signed with the team.
"He did some damage against us last year," said Shackleford.
Other players who have signed include:
* Wide receiver Hakeem Moore, who spent some time on the Baltimore Ravens roster and played at Towson State.
* Defensive back Ammar Dyson, who spent some time with the Detroit Lions.
* Defensive back Jamail Berry, who was a standout at Western Michigan with 94 tackles during the 2010 season.
* Quarterback Herbert Bynes, who played at Hampton University from 2008-10.
* Defensive back Semaj Moody, a former standout at South Carolina State University who had 22 tackles and two interceptions as a senior in 2010 and played in the HBCU Bowl All-Star game.
* Offensive lineman Anthony McNac from UTEP. After missing most of the 2009 season with an ankle injury, McNac played all 13 games as a senior in 2010 and was named to the Conference USA honorable mention team.