October 26, 2012

Former Auburn RB latest to sign with Georgia Rampage

Kacee Smith did not like Brad Lester too much when the running back was donning an Auburn uniform and playing against Georgia.

He’s glad Lester is on his side now.

The Georgia Rampage ann-ounced Lester as a new signing and addition to its roster for the 2013 regular season, scheduled to begin in March. The Ultimate Indoor Football League team will plays its home games at the trade center in Dalton.

Smith, a co-owner of the Rampage, and Lester started communicating before Sunday’s open tryouts in Atlanta, and the Parkview High product attended the event to meet Rampage coach coach Mark Bramblett and offensive coordinator Chris McKinney.

“It allowed us to meet more direct and face to face,” Smith said Thursday in a phone interview with The Daily Citizen.

Lester graduated from Parkview in 2004 and was part of the school’s Class 5A state championship team in 2002. He rushed for 27 touchdowns and more than 2,000 yards in 2003, his senior year.

When he graduated from Auburn in 2008, Lester was ranked 24th in Auburn history for career rushing yards, with 1,400. He had 20 career touchdowns and finished his senior season with 530 yards. In 2006, he led the Tigers with nine rushing touchdowns.

“I’m a Georgia fan and remember Georgia playing against him,” Smith said. “I remember watching him play and getting aggravating with him. I didn’t care too much for him then but am glad he’s on our team now.”

Lester was not selected in the 2009 NFL draft but received a workout from the Houston Texans. He then played for the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos for the 2010-2011 season. He has been on a break from the sport since then.

“I actually went back to school to finish my degree (in exercise science) and also started my own business called Athletes Elite Performance,” Lester said Thursday in a phone interview. “We train athletes in and around Gwinnett County.”

However, the plan is to get a second chance either in the CFL or NFL.

“The first time I heard about (the Rampage) was on Facebook. ... I looked more into the program and learned it was a good league to get my feet back into the game,” Lester said. “That’s the plan right now. At the end of the day, I’d like to be back in the NFL, but I’ll look into CFL contracts at the end of the season and go with whichever one comes first.”

The Rampage have 16 players signed on their preseason roster, which can max out to 40 for February’s training camp, 23 for the season and 18 for game days. Lester will be one of the Rampage players with no indoor football experience.

“None at all actually,” he said. “For me, it’s football and whatever new rules and things that come up, I’m sure I can adjust to them.

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