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Sykes Records Career Sack Number 61 in Nation’s Capital

ALBANY - Joe Sykes’ half sack last weekend in Washington DC made him the all-time career sack leader in the Arena Football League.  Prior to the June 29 game against the Washington Valor, Sykes was tied with AFL Hall of Famer Sam Hernandez at 60.5 sacks before recording 0.5 sack midway through the second quarter.  At 35 years of age, Sykes leads the league this season with 7.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

“He’s the greatest to ever do it and still hasn’t even lost a step,” said Rob Keefe, Head Coach of the Albany Empire.  “He is a leader both on and off the field and is always teaching.  Joe continues to be a student of the game and prepares like no other.  We expect to see many more sacks from Sykes while wearing an Empire uniform for years to come.” 

Sykes began his professional career in the NFL as an undrafted free agent on the Washington Redskins.  After a brief stint in the NFL, Sykes debuted his talents in the indoor game at the AF2 level with the Green Bay Blizzard in 2008.  As a member of the Blizzard, Sykes took the league by storm racking up an impressive 22 sacks and eight forced fumbles earning himself AF2’s Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year awards.  His play on the field drew some attraction from the CFL as Sykes made the transition back to the outdoor game and played with the Saskatchewan Roughriders a year later. 

In 2010, Sykes moved back to indoor football and made his debut in the AFL with the Milwaukee Iron where he tallied up five total tackles and one fumble recovery in limited action.  After spending 2011 with the Edmonton Eskimos, Sykes came back to the AFL where he played for the San Jose SaberCats in 2012.  Sykes broke through in 2012 on his way to setting the AFL record for most sacks in a single season with 16.5.  

“There is a lot of pressure on the defense in an offense-heavy game,” said Sykes.  “I just try to block all that out and play ball! Success on defense is all about being patient and preparing.  I am always studying quarterbacks and learning when to use my best moves to get to them.”

After a year in San Jose, Sykes moved to the San Antonio Talons where he shined once again piling up 14.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception.  In 2014, Sykes bounced around between the AFL and CFL before landing in Jacksonville in 2015.  Sykes’ year-long stint with the Sharks led by Coach Les Moss was the best statistical year of his career.  During his time in Jacksonville, Sykes broke his own record for most sacks in a single season with 18.5 and added eight forced fumbles on his way to being names Defensive Player of the Year, Defensive Lineman of the Year and First Team All-Arena.  His performance with the Sharks jumped him up to third all-time on the AFL’s list of career sack leaders.  

“I never focused on setting a record, I just love to play,” said Sykes. “Personal accolades are great but it’s more so about a championship.  I want to be Albany’s next great Arena Football Player while bringing a championship back to the city.”

Albany Empire 2018 Inaugural Season Presented By CDPHP.

About Albany Empire

The Arena Football League’s newest franchise, The Albany Empire will return home on Saturday, July 7 at the Times Union Center.  Season memberships for the 2019 season are on sale now. For tickets, contact the Albany Empire sales department at (518) 533-2200 or by going to . Follow the team on Facebook at  and Twitter at

About Arena Football League 

The Arena Football League will enter its 31st Season in 2018. Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. Teams slated for 2018 include: Albany, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. CBS Sports Network nationally broadcasts AFL games each week, culminating with the ArenaBowl. The AFL launched AFLNow, the League’s streaming “Over-the-Top” network to give fans even more access to the League on For all the latest news and discussion on the Arena Football League follow the AFL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@aflarenaball) 

About Times Union Center

Albany’s Times Union Center, formerly Pepsi Arena, continues to have great success. Renamed in January 2007, the The Times Union Center is “Upstate New York’s Premier Sports and Entertainment Facility. Owned by Albany County and operated by SMG, the world’s largest private management firm for public assembly facilities, the Times Union Center has an adaptable seating capacity between 6,000 and 17,500. Since Frank Sinatra christened the building on January 30, 1990, more than seven million patrons have walked through the turnstiles. As a multi-purpose facility, the Times Union Center has hosted a variety of events, including concerts, family shows and sporting events, averaging 165 events each year. 

About CDPHP®

Established in 1984, CDPHP is a physician-founded, member-focused and community-based not-for-profit health plan that offers high-quality affordable health insurance plans to members in 24 counties throughout New York. CDPHP is also on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Instagram.

About Transfinder

Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Schenectady, New York, Transfinder is a national leader in intelligent transportation systems, providing transportation management systems and services to school districts, municipalities and adult care facilities. Transfinder, an Inc. magazine “fastest-growing company” for the past eleven straight years, has offices in Austin, Texas, and Shanghai, China. The software company develops and supports routing and scheduling solutions for optimal transportation logistics.

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