Tri-Cities Fever

Fever signs defensive lineman

KENNEWICK -- The Tri-Cities Fever added some bulk to its defensive line this week by signing nose tackle Dave Howell.

A 6-foot-5, 320-pounder recently released by the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League, Howell should start Saturday when the Fever (2-5) hosts the Kent Predators (3-5).

Howell played for three seasons at the University of Miami before transferring to Portland State, where he was an All-Big Sky selection. In 2008, he was in the Oakland Raiders camp.

Howell was the odd man out in Jacksonville's line rotation.

"I found him through my connections in the AFL," said Fever coach Adam Shackleford. "He's bounced around and be in and out of the Jacksonville camp. They liked him there and had him play both ways, but they got an eight-year veteran at the last minute."

Howell was on the defensive line at Miami. But when he transferred to PSU, then-Vikings coach Jerry Glanville turned him into an offensive lineman.

Shackleford said Howell could play both ways for the Fever.

Lillard at QB: Shackleford said Houston Lillard will start at quarterback for the Fever for the second straight week.

Andy Collins has been sidelined with a detached bicep muscle.

"It's not completely separated from the bone," Shackleford said. "It is feeling better, but he throws the ball and the next day it does not feel good.

"Andy went to doctor (Thursday) again and it's still pretty sore. He will be available. He's doing that out of loyalty to his teammates."

Lillard had a successful first start last weekend, tossing six TD passes as the Fever defeated the visiting Alaska Wild 56-48.

Thompson in limbo: Tyson Thompson is scheduled to play Saturday for the Fever again.

But he could be gone the next few weeks because the second-year, outdoor United Football League is looking at signing him.

"We may lose him," Shackleford said. "He's gotten some calls from some of their teams. He's been a great leader on this team. He's not a vocal person."

Instead, Thompson leads by example, even in practice.

"Even when we run a play from our own 5, he runs the other 45 yards every time," Shackleford said of the former Dallas Cowboy. "The guys look to him. He's been there (to the NFL), he stood next to Tony Romo. He gets it. He's been a great example."