Force sign former rookie of the year

FLOWERY BRANCH - The Georgia Force announced the signing of defensive end R-Kal Truluck, the Arena Football League's 2001 Rookie of the Year and 2002 Lineman of the Year, on Wednesday.

Truluck was selected by the Force in this fall's dispersal draft.

The 33-year-old was on Nashville's roster last season, but didn't play. The Kats and Austin Wranglers folded and all players under contract to those teams were available in October's dispersal draft.

Head coach Doug Plank said he was impressed with Truluck's versatility as a pass rusher, to both power through the line and use his speed to get around the outside.

"I felt like we had the best pass rush last year, we had the most sacks, but you can always get better," said Plank, a former NFL safety himself. "Truluck solidifies our position as being the frontrunner - at least from a personnel standpoint."

The 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive end was named the AFL's rookie of the year in 2001 and followed that up by earning lineman of the year honors in 2002. From 2001-02, Truluck was a member of the Detroit Fury. During that period, he had 48.5 tackles, 17.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, five forced fumbles, two safeties and one blocked kick in 26 games. He was also named first-team All-Arena in each of his two seasons in the league.

Following his 2002 campaign, Truluck was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he collected 12 tackles in six games. The New York native spent time with the Chiefs (2003), Green Bay Packers (2004) and Arizona Cardinals (2005) while playing in the NFL. Truluck posted 58 tackles and eight sacks in 41 career NFL games.

Truluck also has played in the Canadian Football League.

"I am excited about returning to the AFL in 2008 and I am thrilled to be doing so with the Georgia Force," Truluck said in a team press release. "Following my tour of the facilities and my meetings with the coaching staff, I realized that the Force is the pinnacle of AFL organizations and that they are committed to winning an ArenaBowl championship."

Truluck's skills will be especially valuable this season with a rule change that allows linebackers to go wider than the tackle. The rule was designed to take away the shorter pass routes and force the quarterback to stay in the pocket longer.

Truluck hasn't played arena football since 2002, but Plank doesn't think there will be much of an adjustment period.

"Certain elements of arena football and the National Football League are very similar," he said. "Pass rush is almost an identical task."

The Force open training camp in February and will once again be playing their home games at the Arena at Gwinnett Center after three seasons downtown at Philips Arena.