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Cobras Stick With Brian Schmitz

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RALEIGH — The Carolina Cobras chose youth overexperience on Wednesday as the club decided to stick with rookie BrianSchmitz as the team's kicker for the remainder of the season. ArenaFootball League veteran Bjorn Nittmo was released today. The club alsoplaced wide receiver/defensive back David McLeod on injured reserve andsigned former N.C. State defensive lineman Jeff Fisher to the practicesquad.

Schmitz (6-0, 175, North Carolina) was signed as the emergency kicker forlast Sunday's game against the Buffalo Destroyers after Nittmo re-injuredhis right (non-kicking) knee in practice last Friday. Schmitz was coolunder pressure, connecting on 6 of 7 PATs and drilling a 19-yard field goalwith four seconds left to seal a 53-44 win.

"I think the wonderful thing about it is that he went through all the nervesand stuff early and settled in and was pretty consistent after that," HeadCoach Doug Kay said on Schmitz's debut. "I think he offers us somethingthat you don't see a lot of in the Arena League and that's a really strongleg."

Schmitz, who starred as the Tar Heels punter and kickoff specialist duringhis four-year career at UNC (1996-99) was one of the top all-purpose kickingspecialists in college football as a senior. He was signed as an undraftedfree agent with the NFL's New York Giants in 2000 and played in all four ofthe Giants' preseason games that year, handling the kickoff duties. As asenior at UNC in 1999, he led the ACC in punting and was second in thenation with a 47.8 average. Schmitz attempted just 8 field goals (made 2)during his college career, but earned First Team All-ACC and First TeamAll-American honors as a punter and kickoff specialist.

Nittmo kicked in seven games this season for the Cobras, netting 47 of 50(.940) PATs, including a streak of 30 straight. He was the Cobrassecond-leading scorer with 67 points but connected on just 6 of 22 (.273)field goals. He missed a 31-yarder as time expired that would have tied thegame at Grand Rapids on May 11.

The Cobras take on the Houston ThunderBears this Friday, June 22, 7:30 p.m.at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Tickets are still available and maybe purchased by calling any Ticketmaster outlet (919-834-4000) or logging onto www.cobrasfootball.com. For group ticket information contact the CobrasTicket Office at (919) 281-0400.

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