Cobras Sign Free Agent WR/LB Cory Fleming
Posted November 13, 2001 1:27 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — It did not take long for Carolina Cobras head coach Mike Neu to make headlines in the Arena Football League. The Cobras signed Arena Football League all-star free agent wide receiver/linebacker Cory Fleming to a three-year contract on Monday.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Fleming, who played the past five seasons in the AFL with the Nashville Kats, becomes the first major unrestricted free agent to sign a contract with another AFL team since the free agent signing period began on November 5.
"We're excited to get a player like Cory Fleming because we know what he brings to the table on both sides of the ball." Neu said. "He makes plays on the field and from a leadership standpoint he has the ability to bring out the best in everyone."
A two-time First Team All-Arena selection (1997-98) and 1997 AFL Rookie of the Year player, Fleming comes to the Cobras as Nashville's all-time leading receiver and ranks 9th all-time in the AFL in receiving touchdowns (116) and 10th in total scoring (744 points).
He also ranks in the league's top-15 in career receptions (406) and receiving yards (4,919). Fleming had arguably the best three seasons of any receiver in AFL history from 1997-99, reaching the 300-catch mark quicker than any other player.
"He's [Fleming] a playmaker," Neu continued. "When the game is one the line you can look to him in the huddle because he wants the ball."
Fleming's size (6-2, 218, Tennessee), quickness and good hands make him a huge offensive threat, but he also brings a defensive presence to the 50-yard indoor field.
Playing both wide receiver and linebacker, Fleming was selected to the AFL's 1999 All-Ironman squad after finishing in the league's top 10 in seven statistical categories. He suffered a broken ankle during the preseason last year, but returned (21 catches for 272 yards and four TDs in five games) to help the Kats to their second straight Arena Bowl appearance in 2001.
A former standout wide receiver at the University of Tennessee, he was selected in the fourth round of the 1994 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers and later signed with the Dallas Cowboys, where he saw action in four games that season. He played the 1995 season with the Cowboys and earned a Super Bowl ring when Dallas defeated Pittsburgh 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX.
Fleming was a teammate with Neu during the Nashville Kats' inaugural season in 1997. Neu later worked with Fleming as the Kats' quarterbacks coach (1998) and offensive coordinator (1999).
The Cobras begin their third season in the AFL in March 2002.