Season Presented by


Training Camp Set to Begin Monday, April 8

ALBANY, NY - The Albany Empire announce that three players have been assigned to the team roster through free agency.  Per League and team rules, terms are not disclosed. The free agency signing period for the Arena Football League began on Monday, March 4.

Rodney Fritz, Defensive Lineman

Hailing from Missouri, Rodney Fritz brings championship experience to the Empire.  Transferring to Tennessee State University as a junior in 2008, he played in 17 games and recorded 40 tackles and nine sacks. Following college, Fritz broke into indoor football joining the Huntington Hammer of the Ultimate Indoor Football League.  In his debut season, Fritz led the team in tackles-for-loss and forced fumbles and was second on the team in sacks. Fritz transitioned to the AFL in 2011 and was assigned to the Tulsa Talons.  Shortly after, Fritz spent time in the CFL as a member of both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Toronto Argonauts between 2011-2013.  In 2014, Fritz rejoined the AFL and was assigned to the San Jose SaberCats, helping the team win ArenaBowl XXVIII just a year later during the 2015 season.  Fritz spent 2016 splitting time between the Los Angeles Kiss and Arizona Rattlers before joining the Baltimore Brigade for the duration of the 2018 season.  Last season in Baltimore, Fritz played nine games and was third in the League with two forced fumbles.  Fritz looks forward to being reunited with Coach Ewart, whom he played under in Arizona, and potentially winning another ArenaBowl here in the Capital Region!

Hayworth Hicks, Offensive Lineman

Hayworth Hicks rejoins the Empire after spending all of the 2018 inaugural season with the team.  Hicks may always be seen with a smile on his face, but he is a force on the field.  Last year, Hicks was named AFL Offensive Lineman of the Year and First Team All-Arena for the first time in his career.  Starting every game for the Empire, Hicks was a key member of an offensive line that allowed a League-low four sacks in 350 passing attempts.  Furthermore, the Empire led the League in scoring offense (53.8 points per game) and passing touchdowns (81) in large part to Hicks’ protection.  Hicks was prevalent within the Capital Region community during 2018, attending various team appearances, and the veteran offensive lineman looks to continue to be a big part of the community throughout his second season with the organization.

Xavier Rush, Wide Receiver  

Born in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Xavier Rush played collegiately at Tulane University.  During his four years as a member of the Green Wave, Rush hauled in 99 catches for 1,349 yards and 12 touchdowns.  In his senior season in 2014, Rush had an impressive 19.7 yards per catch average.  Not only did Rush shine on the football field, but he was also a two-year member of the Tulane track and field team.  Following college, Rush had spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles for training camp and preseason in 2016. After briefly spending time in the CFL with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Rush came back to the States and was signed by the New Orleans Saints in 2017.  Most recently, Rush was a member of the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football League.

Jeramie Richardson, linebacker, has been placed on Recallable Reassignment.  Devante Noil, wide receiver, has been placed on Reassignment.

Fans can secure season tickets for the Albany Empire by calling 518-533-2200, by going to, or by stopping by the Empire office located in the Times Union Center. A limited number of great seats are still available!  Want to bring your organization to a game, fundraise, or perform on the field? Group experiences are now on sale.  Call 518-533-2200 for additional information.

Albany Empire 2019 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 the Arena Football League

The Arena Football League enters its 32nd season in 2019. Since its inception in 1987, the AFL showcases a fast-paced, exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets. With the addition of two new teams in Atlantic City, N.J., and Columbus, O.H., the League totals six teams for 2019: Albany, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Columbus, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Each team will play 12 regular-season games in 2019. One can find the League can on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the handle @OfficialAFL.

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 26 counties throughout New York. CDPHP is also on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, 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.

Albany Empire Partners

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