On the first day of free agency, the Pittsburgh Power have added two key players to help them chase their first Arena Football League title with wide receiver Joe Hills and defensive lineman Joe Sykes joining the team for their 2015 campaign.
Hills comes to the Power after three seasons with the Tampa Bay Storm where he amassed 286 receptions for 3,895 yards and 94 touchdowns. In 2014, Hills finished third in the AFL in scoring averaging 16.6 points per game. Hills recorded his second-straight 100-catch season in 2014, finishing in the Top 10 in receptions per game (7.14) and receiving touchdowns (38).
“It’s always great to add to an explosive offense with one of the most dynamic young receivers in the game,” Power Head Coach Ron James said. “He has been a very productive player and it will be great to have him in a Power uniform this year. He is the type of player that can help take us to the next level as a team.”
Hills recorded his best season in 2013 where he caught 133 passes for 1,861 yards and 42 touchdowns earning him first team All-Arena honors. Before joining the Storm, Hills spent part of the 2012 season with Spokane. Hills played college football at Tennessee State after transferring from South Carolina. After going undrafted in 2011, he signed as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans. Hills has also seen time in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers as well as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
Sykes brings an impressive resume with him to the Steel City. In 2012 while with the San Jose SaberCats, Sykes was named the Riddell Defensive Player of the Year after a setting a League record with 16 sacks. Sykes spent the 2013 season with the San Antonio Talons where he recorded a career-best 34.5 tackles including 14.5 sacks. In 2012 and 2013, Sykes earned first team All-Arena nods and was awarded Game Tape Exchange Defensive Lineman of the Year for both seasons.
Over his four-year AFL career, Sykes has recorded 81.5 tackles, 43 tackles for loss and 35 sacks. Sykes played collegiately at Southern University where he earned All-SWAC honors after leading the conference with nine sacks as a senior. Sykes was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Washington Redskins in 2006 and has other professional football experience playing in the Canadian Football League, United Football League and Indoor Football League.
“I am very excited to add one of the best pass rushers in the AFL to our defense,” James said. “Joe Sykes brings a type of work ethic that is needed to make this team successful. It will be fun to see how our defense evolves with him in the lineup.”
The Power are coming off of their best season in franchise history after posting a regular season record of 15-3 and advancing to their first-ever playoff appearance. After making big splashes in free agency last season, the Power intend on finding the pieces that help them bring home an AFL championship to Pittsburgh.