Mix hopes Arena play is road to NFL

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 20, 2000

Former Alcorn State defensive standout Bryant Mix has never played the offensive line. But he doesn’t foresee that as a problem as he readies to work out with for Raleigh, N.C.’s arena football team.

Arena league players usually go both ways, with defensive linemen playing on the offensive line.

&uot;One of the coaches asked me if I could learn to hold,&uot; Mix said. &uot;I&160;told him I got held all of my life so this would give me the opportunity to get back at some people.&uot;

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Mix has spent three years in the NFL, being drafted by Houston in 1996 before signing with Tampa Bay two years ago.

Mix, who sat out last season, will receive his degree from Alcorn in May.

&uot;I’m going to Raleigh to get back in shape and see what I can do,&uot; Mix said. &uot;I talked with San Diego about trying out with them.

Mix was drafted by Houston in 1996.

&uot;I didn’t get much playing time my first year,&uot;&160;he said. &uot;I&160;played in two games and got my first sack.&uot;

In 1997, Mix played in five games and totaled five tackles.

Mix joined Tampa Bay in 1998 and sat out most of the season with an injury until the end of the season.

&uot;Everywhere I have been I have had to work hard for the opportunity to play,&uot; said Mix, who did not play in the NFL last year. &uot;I’m just looking for the right situation. I’ve always been the odd man out. But I’ve saved my money and taken care of that part.&uot;

Mix, 27, joined Alcorn out of Water Valley High. He and his wife Tonette recently purchased a home in Natchez.

&uot;I love the country and I love fishing,&uot; he said.

The 6-4, 300-pound Mix had 13 sacks in his junior year at Alcorn.

Mix graduated one year after Brave quarterback Steve McNair.

&uot;I talked to Steve three hours before the Super Bowl game,&uot; Mix said. &uot;I wished him good luck and told him to go out like he used to play against Jackson State.&uot;

Mix said going from a small college to the NFL was a big step.

&uot;The main thing is to get the techniques down,&uot; Mix said. &uot;From defensive end to the defensive line is a big transition. Everything happened fast. My coach at Tampa Bay knew more techniques and I was getting better each week until the season ended.&uot;

Now Mix is just looking for another chance.

&uot;It’s just a matter of getting my foot in the door and then knocking it wide open,&uot; he said. &uot;Arena ball will get me ready and in shape.&uot;

Mix believes better days are ahead for Alcorn State football as well.

&uot;Being an Alcornite, I believe the team will turn around,&uot; he said. &uot;Coach (Johnny) Thomas has a lot of young guys, but once they buy into his system, they’ll do well.&uot;