TAMPA — Former Southeast quarterback great Adrian McPherson is coming home.
The Seminoles' career passing leader and only person in state history to earn Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball honors has signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League.
McPherson started four games at Florida State in 2002 when he was dismissed from the program for alleged gambling charges that eventually ended his collegiate career.
McPherson is a former AFL Rookie of the Year earning that honor with the Indiana Firebirds when he set the league on fire with 61 touchdown passes and only five interceptions in 2004. He also ran for 19 touchdowns and rushed for 259 yards working under the tutelage of former NFL quarterback Steve DeBerg.
McPherson was a national celebrity his senior year in high school when he threw for 3,727 yards and 42 TD passes while rushing for 765 yards and eight touchdowns.
McPherson overcame all of his problems associated with his FSU days and eventually was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the fifth round of the 2005 draft.
He stayed only one year with the team after the Saints went in another direction with a new coaching staff and then played parts of three more seasons with three different AFL teams.
In May of 2008, McPherson signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League and became the backup to league icon Anthony Calvillo.
McPherson could never move ahead of Calvillo, who is one of the most revered quarterbacks in CFL history and still going strong at 40 years of age.
McPherson spent five seasons with Montreal and decided to leave after his contract expired following last season. He still has hopes of landing with an NFL team and apparently believes playing in the AFL is the best path.
Adrian brings a lot to the table, Tampa Storm vice president of football operations Jeff Gooch said. He is a guy that has played in the AFL before and has the tools to lead. He is much more mature as a person and a quarterback than when he first played in the AFL in 2004.
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound McPherson turns 30 in May. Former Tampa Bay Bucs great Derrick Brooks, now co-owner and president of the Storm, coveted McPherson, and persuaded him to sign.
McPherson has appeared in 32 AFL games completing 529 of 888 passes for 6,863 yards with 119 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He has run for 707 yards and 34 touchdowns on 142 rushing attempts. He appeared in 77 CFL games and completed 145 o 243 passes for 1,505 yards for 10 touchdowns with six interceptions and rushed for 1,035 yards on 218 attempts for 20 touchdowns.
McPherson had opportunities to play for other CFL teams, but chose to stay with Montreal in hopes of replacing Calvillo someday. However, Calvillo even at his age and coming off cancer surgery less than two years ago, appears not to have any intention of retiring in the near future.
The only other quarterback on the Storm roster is Shane Boyd, who played collegiately at Kentucky and was an AFL rookie last year with Milwaukee, completing 12 of 21 passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns.
The Storm, which finished 8-10 last year, opens its season March 23rd at home against Jacksonville