The Massachusetts Pirates professional arena football team in Worcester, MA has re-signed wide receiver Mardy Gilyard for the 2019 season. In 13 games last season Gilyard was second on the team with 69 receptions and ranked third among Pirate’s receivers with 747 receiving yards, 19 TD catches, averaged 10.8 yards per catch and 57.5 yards per game.
The former fourth round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2010 (99th overall) ranked eighth in the National Arena League in receptions and TD receptions; ninth in overall scoring with 136 points and catches per game with 5.31. He was also tenth in receiving yards.
After an All-American career at the University of Cincinnati, Gilyard had a four year stint in the National Football League with St. Louis, the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. From 2013 to 2017 he also saw action with the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League, the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League and the Monterrey Steel of the NAL.
Jawad Yatim, President of the Pirates is counting on Gilyard to help guide the ship in 2019.
"It's great to re-sign Marshawn, he's a leader on this team and had an extremely productive season last year given the fact that he had missed the first three games. He's obviously been successful throughout his football career and just being around him on a daily basis you see the intangibles, natural ability and talent that made him a former NFL draft pick. He's a natural route runner, catches the ball well in traffic and had a knack for producing in big time situations especially on third and fourth down last season. He's dependable and durable and as we focus on becoming a younger team this upcoming season, having a veteran presence like Marshawn is imperative as we look for him to be a mentor to our young receivers and help get them up to speed with the arena game and how we do things here in Massachusetts. He's a coach on the field and that will be crucial as our younger receivers will have someone to lean on as they adjust to a new situation. We are happy to have Marshawn back and I know Pirate Nation is as well," Yatim said.
“I’m the team Capitan. I’m the head of the ship,” Gilyard said. “We ended on a bad note last year. I didn’t even start the year off with the team last season. I’ve always kept that in my mind. I missed three games in the beginning of the year for whatever reason but I was able to stay true to my character and come back, but the way we ended the year left a sour taste in my mouth. I couldn’t swallow that pill. I couldn’t sleep for a month and a half after the season ended. So for me, coming back, it’s all about having the head of the ship there. The Capitan needs to be there. I put a lot of pressure on myself to take care of business for the entire team. For me, it was a no brainer for the Capitan to come back,” he added.
This past offseason saw Gilyard giving back to the youth of Massachusetts as he served as an assistant Pop Warner coach for the Worcester Cowboys. It was just another way he displayed his passion for football.
“That was another reason why I re-signed. We won a state championship for the City of Worcester. My 11U guys; they are my kids, I love them to death. I’ve grown attached to those kids. At first I was just going out there for an appearance and to give a little advice, but after a couple of practices I got stuck on my guys. I love those guys. Jamie our Head Coach, Dillian our quarterback, Nathan our running back and Ethan our special teams return man. These kids without a shadow of a doubt do what I ask. They go above and beyond. They just want to work. When you have a set of kids like that and a good coaching staff it’s beautiful.”
The wide out will bring the same kind of love for the game to the Pirates.
“Of course. I’m a savvy vet. You see the passion that I play with. If you’ve ever heard me speak to the team before the game you’ll see everything that I put into this. This is me. This is all I’ve been doing. I’m 32 years old. I’ve been playing this game since I’ve been five. That’s 27 years in this game. This is all that I know. This is what the Lord blessed me with. This is what he made me to do. I bring that passion, desire and fire for a ring.”
Gilyard burst onto the scene in the fourth game of the season vs. Lehigh Valley where he notched a rushing touchdown and caught six passes for 61 yards and three scores. He followed that up the next week against Columbus where he had eight receptions for 105 yards and three touchdowns. He says fans can expect more of the same from him this season.
“Last year was just the tip of the iceberg. They haven’t seen me in a full season yet. In the two years I’ve played in the NAL I haven’t played a full season. In my first year with Monterrey I was hurt and last season I showed everybody I am who I am. It’s not a fluke. It’s not a hype job. I’m not somebody who’s overrated. I meant it when I said it last year that DB’s where going to catch hell grading me and I mean it when I say it this year. I’m like wine, I get better with time.”
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. Pirate Nation Season Ticket Memberships for the 2019 season will be on sale in September. Pirate Nation Memberships start as low as $199.00. To become a Pirate Nation Season Ticket member or for more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single game tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For group outings please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on facebook at facebook.com/MAPirates on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates.