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Cobras Sign Blair, Cleveland; Re-sign Schmitz

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RALEIGH, N.C. — One day after the Carolina Cobras inkedone of the Arena Football League's premier players, Cory Fleming, the clubWednesday signed a pair of rookie free agents and re-signed kicker BrianSchmitz.

Fullback/linebacker Michael Blair and lineman Justin Clevelandboth signed three-year contracts. Schmitz inked a one-year deal. Financialterms of the contracts were not disclosed.

Blair is a professional football journeyman, having spent time in the NFL(Green Bay Packers, 1997-98; Cleveland Browns, 1999; New Orleans Saints,2000), NFL Europe (Frankfurt Galaxy, 2000-01) and the now-defunct XFL (NewYork/New Jersey Hitmen, 2001). A former four-time All-MAC running back andteammate of Cobras' head coach Mike Neu at Ball State University, Blairbrings good size (5-11, 245 lbs.) and speed to the fullback/linebackerposition.

Cleveland (6-2, 330, Sienna College) joins the Cobras after playing the 2001season in arenafootball2 (af2) with the Tennessee Valley Vipers. He playedfor Cobras defensive coordinator Bret Munsey, who led the Vipers to a 14-2regular season mark and earned af2 Coach of the Year honors. Clevelandplayed center on offense and finished the season with 17 tackles and half asack on the defensive side of the ball.

Schmitz, a former team captain at the University of North Carolina at ChapelHill, joins the Cobras for his second season in Carolina. He was signedmid-way through the year in 2001 and played in the final six games, netting31 of 36 PAT attempts and hitting 7 of 10 field goal attempts, including along of 31 yards. He also had a stellar post-season, drilling 4 of 6 fieldgoal attempts, tying an Arena Football League record for field goals made ina playoff game in the Cobras' 58-41 loss at Indiana.

The Cobras may sign up to 40 players to the off-season roster and must take30 to training camp in March 2002.

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