Tri-Cities Fever

Fever set to open camp Monday

The end is near.

The end of the beginning, anyway, for Tri-Cities Fever coach Adam Shackleford.

Shackleford and the rest of his staff are wrapping up their preseason recruiting this week, and the players into whom they've invested countless hours will start trickling into town this weekend.

Soon there will be faces with the names.

The Fever opens training camp Monday in preparation for its season opener March 8 at Fairbanks, Alaska. It will also be the Fever's debut in the Indoor Football League.

"Potentially, I think we have a pretty good football team," said the first-year coach, who spent the previous three seasons at the helm of the Spokane Shock in the arenafootball2 league.

But good is not what Shackleford will settle for. That's why he hopes to make some late additions to his roster in the next couple of days. He said he has eight contracts in the hands of players who have yet to commit.

If four or five of those arrive town by Monday, Shackleford said the fruits of his labor for the last 21/2 months could be right.

"We just need to finish up with a couple of guys and hopefully we get them in here," Shackleford said.

True to his word, Shackleford has been busy this week. He released defensive back Courtney Miller and added Kwame Agyeman, who played in six games for the Fever last season.

The Fever also signed linebacker Derek Nicholson out of Florida State, a two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection for the Seminoles.

Nicholson signed as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons last year but was released before training camp.

When asked if he was pleased about the crop of players coming in, Shackleford said he needs some time.

"I'll be able to answer that better after Monday," he said.