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Jones Transitions to the National Football League After a Year in the Arena Football League

ALBANY- 2018 Albany Empire wide receiver Malachi Jones has announced that he has signed with the Chicago Bears of the National Football League.  The rookie shined in his AFL debut leading the Empire to an 8-4 regular season record and the top seed in the playoffs.  

Jones showed his full potential with his first career catch in the AFL being a long and elusive 48-yard catch-and-run touchdown in Albany’s inaugural game.  Over the course of the regular season, Jones led the league in receiving yards (1,156) and total touchdowns (34).  He finished second in receiving touchdowns (29) and fourth in receptions (77).  Jones racked up the awards in his debut season, earning First Team All-Arena, Wide Receiver of the Year, and Rookie of the Year honors.

“Malachi embodies everything that a great football player should be and is a perfect example of how hard work pays off,” said Rob Keefe, Head Coach of the Albany Empire.  “He was everything that we knew he would be and then some and the Albany Empire organization is beyond proud to have played a role in helping him achieve his goals.”

Jones will be in good AFL company with his new team.  Current Bears Head Coach, Matt Nagy, was a quarterback in the AFL where he played for six seasons before transitioning to the National Football League and joining the Philadelphia Eagles.  Current Wide Receiver Coach, Mike Furrey, spent two seasons in the AFL as a wide receiver and defensive back before making the move to the National Football League.  During his time as a receiver in the AFL, Furrey racked up 182 receptions for 1,574 yards and 73 touchdowns.

Jones has signed onto the 90-man Bears training camp roster and will look to make the cut and earn a spot on the 53-man roster by the start of the season.

Albany Empire 2018 Inaugural Season Presented By CDPHP.

About Albany Empire

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 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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