Hollywood would be hard pressed to concoct a better story than the one Rattlers wide receiver Trandon Harvey is writing this season.
Two months ago, he was out of football, working for the Transportation Security Administration at the San Diego airport. Now, the 23-year-old from Washington State is a favorite to win the Arena Football League Rookie of the Year award.
Not bad for a guy who was ready to give up.
“I was working, keeping myself in shape just waiting for an opportunity to arise,” Harvey said. “At one point, I didn’t think it was going to come.
“I was either going to go back to school and get my master’s or go into government (work).”
Then the Rattlers offered him a two-day contract. It’s a common deal in the Arena League but one that rarely leads to anything.
For Harvey, it did.
“I told myself, 'I’m tired of sitting at home, watching other people play,’” he said. “I figured this was my opportunity.”
Harvey not only survived the two days, he excelled, impressing the coaches with his athleticism and play-making abilities. He was rewarded with a roster spot.
But with the Rattlers already having three productive veteran receivers, the only action Harvey saw early was on the kickoff return team.
Then came a rash of injuries. Starters Cosmo DeMatteo (foot), Randy Gatewood (foot) and Jeremiah Pope (knee) all suffered injuries in the first two weeks of the season. DeMatteo is out for the year.
In stepped Harvey, and given a chance to show what he could do, he hasn’t disappointed. Since being inserted into the starting lineup in Week 2, Harvey has a team-leading 31 receptions for 361 yards and eight touchdowns.
“In this profession, it’s right place, right time,” Rattlers coach Gene Nudo said. “If there is a rookie in this league better than him, I’d like to see it.”
Though he is enjoying success in his first year, Harvey said the Arena Football League is not what he expected from the outside looking in, saying he’s been caught off guard by the sheer speed and complexity of the indoor game.
“I had no idea it was going to be this way,” he said.
A lot of teams around the league could say the same thing about him.
Rattlers at Avengers
What: Arena Football League
When: 7:30 p.m. today
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles
Radio: KMVP (860 AM)
Records: Arizona 1-4, Los Angeles 2-2
Series History: The Rattlers lead all time 10-6, including a 58-45 victory in the most recent meeting last May.
Scouting Report: Arizona — Counting the postseason, the Rattlers have lost seven of their last nine road games, including a current six-game losing streak. Almost a full calendar year has passed since the team’s last road win, 64-52 at Utah on April 7, 2006.
Los Angeles — The Avengers had their modest two-game winning streak broken on Sunday, losing to Chicago on national television, 66-31. Quarterback Sonny Cumbie and former Arizona State receiver Lenzie Jackson — who has 44 receptions for 479 yards and seven touchdowns — lead the Los Angeles attack.