Like most Abilene Bombers, second year defensive back Chaz Russell has been given a second chance at professional football. Most players in the LSFL are from all over the country and rarely make their football home their residence in the off-season. After getting engaged and having his first daughter, Russell is proud to call Abilene home and to call himself a Bomber.
“He's a great player, he's the ultimate Bomber,” second year head coach Joe Brannen told KTXS on Thursday, “he’s the type of guy we're looking for, the type of guy that puts the Abilene Bombers and the team above his own individual success.”
On his way to Abilene, Russell had stops at the likes of West Virginia before a recommendation to continue his playing career in the Big Country came from an ex-coach.
“My college coach actually played with coach Joe,” Russell explained, “I just recently had a daughter born here so this is pretty much my home.”
After a community outreach event between the Bombers and the New Horizons foster care program – a non-profit supporting abused and neglected children in Abilene – Chaz decided to become a counselor himself to help give a second chance to the community that gave him a second chance at football.
“I just wanted to help,” Russell told KTXS, “I guess that was my opportunity right there.”
“These guys are in a unique position to be an influence on the youth and community of Abilene,” Joe Brannen said of his profession rank, “we really stress that from day one when they arrive here.”
“Well the best thing is that I’ve had at least four kids go back to their families,” Russell explained, “just to see a kid, coming from where he's coming from to see him go back to his family where he really wants to be, the smile on his face is priceless.”
Chaz has been integral to a season which sees the Bombers enter the playoffs another year with an opportunity to host a game in Abilene. He has tallied two regular season interceptions and been a consistent playmaker in the secondary. When asked if the feeling of making a game-changing play compares to his work at New Horizons, Chaz responded with a smile and a shake of the head.
“Of course it feels good when you make a big play. Your coaches and team are telling you good job but it's no comparison. Football is just fun, it's just a game, this is real life. When a kid goes back home, that means a lot to me.”
The Bombers will be in New Mexico to play the Stars this Saturday before returning home to the Taylor County Expo Center for their final game of the regular season.