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Sharks stay active as the 2014 season approaches

The Sharks signed wide receiver Andrew Bodenheimer and linebacker Jeremiah Turner to rookie contracts last week.
The Sharks signed wide receiver Andrew Bodenheimer and linebacker Jeremiah Turner to rookie contracts last week.
Jacksonville Sharks, jaxsharks.com

The Jacksonville Sharks announced Friday that the team has made two additions to its 2014 roster. Wide receiver Andrew Bodenheimer and linebacker Jeremiah Turner have been assigned to the team on one-year rookie contracts.

The 24-year-old Bodenheimer (6’3”, 210 lbs.), a native of Clemmons, N.C., comes to the Arena Football League after a standout career at East Carolina University. During his time as a Pirate, Bodenheimer progressed from serving as a walk-on special teams performer to a mainstay in the starting lineup.

Starting as a redshirt freshman in 2009 out of West Forsyth High School, Bodenheimer played mostly on special teams, seeing time in 14 games. His transition to wide receiver began in 2010. As a sophomore, he finally made the starting lineup and made the most of it, catching 40 passes for 370 yards and his first two collegiate touchdowns.

That momentum carried him into his junior year. Starting 10 games, he set career highs in catches (46) and yards (484). He finished his career in 2012, being East Carolina’s second-leading receiver with 36 catches for 371 yards and three scores.

The 29-year-old Turner (6’2”, 250 lbs.) from Birmingham, Alabama, is the younger brother of current Sharks defensive lineman Jerry Turner. Jeremiah brings some considerable pro football experience, spending time with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders in 2008 before moving indoors.

After graduating from Concordia College and his time with the Stampeders, Turner spent time in the Lone Star Football League. Most recently, Turner enjoyed a terrific season with the Abilene Bombers, earning LSFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. That year, Turner racked up 15 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, five pass breakups and two blocked kicks to go along with 34.5 total tackles (28 solo).

In other transactions, the Sharks announced that wide receiver Bobby Sewall and offensive lineman Johnny Culbreath have been placed on recallable reassignment.

In other news, Jacksonville also announced that the team will hold a free preseason benefit scrimmage for a fourth consecutive year. For the second time, and the first since 2011, the Sharks will host division rival Tampa Bay Storm. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The late-afternoon start time gives families the chance to attend the scrimmage with minimal interruption to their regular Sunday schedule.

For the second straight season, Jacksonville is partnering with First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP), a nonprofit working to end the unnecessary killing of dogs and cats in shelters. FCNMHP strives toward this goal through programs that provide free or low-cost spay/neuter surgeries, keep pets in homes, offer innovative adoption assistance, and share this knowledge with other communities across the nation. The organization also operates the Jacksonville Pet Food Bank, providing qualified low-income families with the resources necessary to keep their pets in their home and out of the shelter. The Sharks and FCNMHP want to match last year’s success, as fans helped raise over 15,000 lbs. of pet food during last year’s scrimmage against Orlando.

“We are proud to continue our partnership with No More Homeless Pets for this year’s preseason event,” Jacksonville Managing Partner Jeff Bouchy said. “We look forward to both giving our great fans an early look at this year’s team, and helping FCNMHP work toward its goal of eliminating the needless killing of pets in our local community and beyond.”

"It is such a honor to have the Sharks as a community partner to not only support our mission but to realize the crucial work we are doing in this community and beyond,” said Nicole Brose, development director at FCNMHP. “Jacksonville has become a national model for best practices in the area of animal welfare and how to save lives."

WJXT Channel 4 will serve as the media partner for this preseason event, providing a much needed platform for FCNMHP’s mission.

“We’re proud to be working closely with the Sharks again this year, both for this important night, and throughout the season,” said Bob Ellis, Channel 4 Vice President and General Manager. “The Sharks do so much good for our local community and with our focus as The Local Station, it’s a great fit.”

While admission to the preseason scrimmage is free, fans are asked and encouraged to bring a donation of pet food that will be collected outside the arena on behalf of FCNMHP. Cash donations will also be accepted for fans wishing to contribute in that manner.

Currently, bags of dry dog and cat food are FCNMHP’s greatest need, though cans of wet food will also be accepted. The Pet Food Bank relies on these donations and supplies are critically low at this time. A full list of the FCNMHP “wish list” can be found online at http://www.fcnmhp.org/pdf/wish_list.pdf.

Held four weeks prior to the Sharks’ home opener against San Antonio, the scrimmage will give fans a chance to get an early glimpse at the Sharks before the team opens the 2014 campaign at Orlando on March 16. For the preseason scrimmage, gates will open at 3:00 p.m. for the general public. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, however season ticket holders who wish to sit in their usual seats may enter the arena beginning at 2:30 p.m.

The Sharks will release more information regarding the items that season ticket holders will be able to pick up at this year’s preseason event as the game approaches.

For more on the Jacksonville Sharks, including the latest news, updates, and transactions, log on to www.jaxsharks.com. For more on the rest of the Arena Football League, log on to www.arenafootball.com and www.arenafan.com.