Training Camp Report (May 24, 2021)

COLUMBUS-- May 24 was a big day for the Columbus Lions as nearly the entire team was on the field together and coach Jason Gibson along with the rest of the staff were able to see the team work as a unit. Offensive and defensive linemen as well as linebackers reported to camp on Sunday and Monday’s practice was their first in pads. 

This was already a big moment for the Lions’ preseason but the day became even more important after a recent scheduling change that took place over the weekend. Instead of opening the season on June 4 against the Orlando Predators, the Columbus Lions will be traveling all the way to New York to take on the Albany Empire on May 29. 

With the schedule change, there was a clear sense of urgency from players and coaches alike. This week was supposed to be more early preparation as many players were finally getting back to organized football after nearly two years off. This led to a series of mistakes throughout team drills that caused some frustration.

“We’ve got four days and you can’t even watch the ball,” shouted coach Gibson after a series of offsides by the defensive lineman during full team drills.

Despite the sense of urgency around camp, a number of players were simply happy to be back on the field after a long absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s football season baby, I love it, I love it,” said one player after a series of physical linemen drills took place.

Monday’s practice offered a glimpse at what Mason Espinosa and the offense had in terms of pass protection following a previous week of practice which featured no pressure from a defense. Each play was back and forth as the offensive and defensive lines would find success throughout the day. 

Tiberias Lampkin was a big part of practice as the running back seemed to be getting most of the first team reps and he made the most of it with a number of big runs up the middle. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Lampkin was a force in pass protection as well, stepping up to the plate after challenges from some defensive linemen and holding his own throughout the blocking drills. While it was only the first full day of practice, Lampkin seemed to separate himself from the rest of the running backs on the roster. 

The rest of the first team offense was in sync as well with Lonnie Outlaw and Antwane Grant leading the way, a potentially great one-two punch for the offense and quarterback Mason Espinosa. Espinosa continued to be a leader on the practice field and was very vocal throughout the day as the team went through drills.

As the Lions prepare for the Albany Empire, the team will look to shake off the rust that comes with nearly two years of sitting out and mesh as a unit with only four days left until their season opener.


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 Follow the Lions on Facebook at, twitter @columbuslions and


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 For more information about the NAL visit,,,