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Ryan Cave and Joe Sykes Awarded Best Linemen Honors

ALBANY, NY - The Arena Football League today announced Ryan Cave of the Albany Empire earned the Offensive Lineman of the Year award, and Joe Sykes of the Albany Empire won the Defensive Lineman of the Year award, recognizing their strong efforts in the team’s successful season.

This is Cave’s first Offensive Lineman of the Year Award, and Sykes’ fifth Defensive Lineman of the Year award (also 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018).

Cave played an integral role with an offensive line that defended its quarterback intensely and consistently. In all 12 games this season, the Empire’s offensive line allowed the fewest sacks against in the League, with just two allowed totaling a loss of 14 yards. Albany’s offense led the League in many statistical categories including total points scored, largely in part to Cave’s efforts up front.

Sykes added onto his League’s all-time career leading sack record by recording 6.5 sacks on the season, giving him 67.5 total sacks in his decorated career. In the Empire’s season-opener, Sykes had three tackles for loss (two sacks), which tie for a single-game high this season. The DE led the League in total tackles for loss (9, 8 unassisted), tackle for loss yards (50), sack yards (45), and ranks second in fumble return yards (21), including returning one fumble for a touchdown. Sykes also ranks tied for third in career forced fumbles (22).

Both Cave and Sykes also earned All-Arena First Team honors, announced on August 1. The Albany Empire teammates helped their team achieve the best record in the League, 10-2, earning the No. 1 seed during the playoffs. The OL and DE were also both named to the All-Arena First Team in 2018.

Tickets for the August 11 ArenaBowl championship game are on sale now 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! 

Albany Empire 2019 Season Presented By CDPHP.

About Albany Empire

Season memberships for the 2020 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 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.

Albany Empire Partners

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