Quarterback Lance Funderburk, wide receiver/defensive back Carl Bondand wide receiver/linebacker Greg Harris signed contracts for the 2002season. Fullback/linebacker Anthony Connally, who spent the majority of last season on the practice squad, also signed a contract.
Funderburk, who saw limited action under center last season as the club's back-up signal-caller, is expected to battle veteran Fred McNair for the starting quarterback position when training camp opens in March 2002.
A three-year veteran of the Arena Football League, Funderburk played in all 14 games last season but completed just 16 of 24 passes for 243 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He replaced an injured McNair in the fourth quarter of the Cobras' 58-41 playoff loss at Indiana and completed 5 of 10 passes for 50 yards.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder spent his first twoseasons in the league with the Arizona Rattlers after a stellar collegiatecareer at Valdosta State.
Bond (5-11, 205, Connecticut) was a pleasant surprise as a rookie lastseason, finishing third on the club in receiving with 45 catches for 497yards and nine touchdowns in just nine games. He was also a force early in the year on returns, hauling back 19 kickoffs for 439 yards and two scores,and tying an AFL record with a 58-yard missed field goal return for atouchdown versus Detroit. He started the season as the club's offensivespecialist but was later moved to wide receiver/defensive back, where hetallied five tackles and an interception.
Bond joined the Cobras last season after an incredible 2000 season in af2, the Arena League's development league, setting league marks in receptions (138), receiving yards (2,086) and touchdown receptions (44).
Harris (6-2, 215, North Carolina) rejoins the Cobras in 2002 for his thirdseason in the AFL. Injuries slowed him down last season and limited the former Tar Heel to just seven receptions for 70 yards on offense; however, he made huge strides on the defensive side of the ball, tallying 22 tacklesand two sacks.
At 6-foot-2, he has great size and instincts and shouldbenefit with the free agent signing of AFL All-Star Cory Fleming, who willact as a mentor to the younger Harris.
Connally (6-1, 240, N.C. Central) spent the majority of the season on the Cobras' practice squad in 2001. A Greensboro, N.C. native, he played collegiately at North Carolina Central University, where he was an All-CIAA selection. He led the Eagles and finished second in the conference with 109 total tackles as a senior in 1999.
The Cobras may sign up to 40 players to the off-season roster and will take 30 to training camp in March 2002. Plans are in the works for an open tryout in the Raleigh-Durham area sometime in January or February of next year.
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