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Former NHS receiver to play again

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Jason Bruce’s high school coaches always told him he had professional potential.

Now the former Natchez High School wide receiver will get to test that hypothesis.

Bruce, who played football for Copiah-Lincoln Community College and later Troy University, signed a contract Wednesday with the Alabama Hammers of the Professional Indoor Football League.

“It’s a wonderful feeling, knowing I’ll get to do what I love to do,” Bruce said. “I’ve trained for this ever since I was able to, and knowing I’ll get back on the field is exciting.”

Bruce moved to Huntsville, Ala., to take a job with Burlington Coat Factory, but as soon as he discovered the Hammers were based there, Bruce said he reached out to the organization.

“Their coach told me he was excited about my film, and he wanted to meet me in person,” Bruce said.

That meeting between Bruce and Hammers head coach Dean Cokinos happened Wednesday, and the team offered Bruce a contract afterward.

“He’s a good guy,” Bruce said of Cokinos. “He’s a winner, and he wants winners around him. I was excited to get a feel for him, and him for me.”

Bruce said he’s been playing basketball and working out to stay in shape, and he’s looking forward to the first day of training camp in February.

“They do have open workouts Dec. 15, and I will participate in those so they can get a feel for me, see me run and catch some footballs,” Bruce said.

As soon as he signed the contract, Bruce said he called his former coaches at NHS: Lance Reed, Ivan Evans and Steve Davis.

“They were just as happy as I was, knowing I would get an opportunity to play ball again,” Bruce said. “When I was in high school, they always told me I would have a chance to play professional ball.”

Bruce graduated from Troy in May 2011. He begins training camp March 8.