PRE-SEASON Q&A WITH DE KEWAN ALFRED
by Jason Gibson
By: Alex Husting
This week I got to talk with Kewan Alfred, a defensive linebacker out of Memphis about some of the ups and downs he’s faced in the last few years and what he hopes to achieve during this upcoming season.
You’ve been playing football most of your life, so how’s it been with everything being put on hold because of Covid?
A. It really is tough, because, before covid or before the injury, I have been playing since I was like five years old, and I have not missed the season. So when COVID came and they decided to shut it down for everybody, it was just, it was just hard. That was a hard, hard time.
So if I’m not mistaken you said before an injury, were you talking about an injury you suffered when you played with the Steamrollers of the ifl?
A. Yeah, Quad City in 2019 I had a pretty catastrophic type of injury but like I said, I came back from it, full force, 100% and everything, it was kind of hard, though. I had to go seven months, basically, just building myself back up to be able to be an athlete again. Once I got cleared and everything, I went right back to full force working out, getting my body right. So it's been a journey, but it was an experience that I wouldn't want to say I would go through again, but it was a good learning experience. I learned a lot about myself and how, like mentally strong I really am. Because I didn't know I was that mentally strong to be able to come back from that type of injury.
So how did it feel when you were finally able to come back and get cleared after all that work you had to put in all those seven months?
A. Just to hear the doctors say that it was okay. Just hearing them say “yeah, you can go back if you want to,” when he said that it just like a whole, felt like the weight of the world came off my shoulders, because I was always a little bit skeptical and nervous about what the doctor was saying after you go into rehab, and going through all that stuff. But once he'd seen how much I wanted, and how much progress I've made, and then we looked at my different images and whatever, like CAT scans and x rays and all that and everything was just good and clean. He was like “yeah, it's on you,” and from there, I've been going full force since then. Full force couldn't wait.
So prior to coming to Columbus, you mentioned playing with the steamrollers and then I saw that you played with the Texas Mustangs United Texas Football Association, is that correct?
A. Yeah, I actually played with them for one game, I was actually trying to, that was my first time having any type of contact since the injury. Before that I was playing, my first year of playing arena was 2016. I play with the Omaha Beef in the CIF. After that, in 2017, I went to the IFL and played with Wichita Falls Nighthawks for one year, and then two years after that I played with the Steamrollers for two years. And then that's when I had the injury in 2019.
Why was it only one game with the Mustangs?
A. Well, it was really the guy that I talked to then, he wanted to make sure that I was okay. And like I said that was my first time having any type of contact and I really appreciate him. Because, there was nobody at first, people were still skeptical even though I was clear and everything, like some people were still skeptical to take a shot. He was basically just like, “Man, look, you know, it's gonna take some time before upper leagues and whatever start seeing you again, and start being able to pull the trigger on you, so until that time you need to stay ready”. So he asked me to come out there and play. Matter of fact, I think it was two games. And I went out there and I played pretty good. It was a good experience for me, because it kind of got my feet wet, to be able to get back out there and play full force, because, even though it was semi-pro, they still have some good athletes out there and I wouldn't take that away from none of those guys. So it was a pretty good experience for me to just make sure that I'm still that same athlete. even before all of this happens.
Could you tell me a bit about how you went from playing with the Mustangs to ending up with the Lions in Columbus?
A. Well,I was still posting a lot of videos of me working out, and just basically staying ready doing drills and stuff like that, and just waiting on some type of professional team to see that I'm still ready and that the injury didn’t do a lot to me. It just took, I guess, Coach Johnson, he’d seen one of my videos, and me and him stayed in contact a long time ago, too, because he’s just a good guy that has his own agency and everything. So when he’d seen one of my videos, and was like, “man, are you still playing?” And I was like, “Man coach, I'm trying to get out there”. And from there he asked me about my injury, asked if everything was okay. I let them know everything was fine, I got cleared and everything. And from there he wanted to bring me out and he took a shot. So he was the first one to take a shot on me, since then, as far as professional football goes. So I appreciate him too, because I wouldn't have this opportunity to go back out there and prove that I can still do this.
So it seems like this, this upcoming season will be one of your first full seasons back in a while, so what are you most excited about with this upcoming season?
A. Man I’m excited to just feel, just to feel like that warrior again out there on the field. Like I cannot wait to just let my mind go and just play the game that I love and I've been playing for so long. Of course, I missed the whole, every aspect of the game, the crowd, I missed the different situations, I missed the adversity, I missed all of it. I just can't wait to actually go do it again. And really come back with dubs becauses the only thing on my mind right now is to get out to Columbus and push as hard as we can to get a championship because, me personally, I've never been on a championship team. I've been on a lot of good teams. And we made a lot of good runs. But I have never personally been on a championship team. So that's kind of sort of the only thing that's on my mind. So it's like, I just can't wait to get back out there and start to make it happen.
Aside from a championship, do you have any other personal goals for this upcoming season?
A. Oh, for sure. The number one is to continue to make the name, because I remember, like when I first started coming out and playing arena league from my rookie year, I ended up getting this little nickname. And I've been putting it on almost everything. Almost everything that I post now or whatever it is dealing with football, I always put this name. And I want this to become like the same thing it used to be. I want to also be, not only that, but I want to be first team all arena, I want it all I'm going for it all. I'm not even gonna lie to you man that's the only thing on my mind is going for it all, everything that I've been doing before. I'm trying to prove it not only to different coaches and organizations as far as upper leagues, but also to myself, because I know I can do it. So it's all It's all mine at that point.
Kewan Alfred has already faced a lot of adversity through his career, with a devastating injury nearly ending his playing career and a pandemic putting it on hold. Now, however, with the 2021 NAL season only weeks away, Alfred is getting a second chance on the gridiron and he is hoping to make the most of it once he gets back on the field.
ABOUT THE COLUMBUS LIONS
The Columbus Lions are members of the National Arena League (NAL). Founded in 2007, the Columbus Lions are starting their 15th season in 2021. The Lions are a 3x league champion and 13 playoff appearances in their rich history. The Lions play their home games at Hughston Field in the Columbus Civic Center. Lions Season Ticket Memberships are on sale now call (706) 322-3336 or visit columbuslions.com. Follow the Lions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Lionsfootball/, twitter @columbuslions and instagram.com/Columbuslions.
ABOUT NATIONAL ARENA LEAGUE
The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. The National Arena League will kick off its fifth season in 2021. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about the NAL visit www.nationalarenaleague.com, facebook.com/nationalarenaleauge, twitter.com/NALfootball, Instagram.com/nationalarenaleague.