Albany, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany Empire opened training camp Tuesday morning with the season opener just two and a half weeks away.

No Tommy Grady means a new gunslinger in town for the Empire. Former UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul will be under center for the Empire when they open the season on April 23, but the Capital Region is nothing new for the former Bruin. Fafaul backed up Tommy Grady in 2018 before joining the Jacksonville Sharks in 2019.

“I always loved the region,” Fafaul said. “I didn’t have a chance to come back in ’19 and I always wanted to. Coach Menas called me and offered me an opportunity and I jumped at it. I was super excited to have that opportunity.”

“Me and tommy were very successful last year, I mean the whole team was, we won a championship,” wide receiver Darius Prince said. “This year I’m pretty sure Mike’s going to step in man and he was Tommy’s backup before, I’m pretty sure he’ll have this offense rolling.”

Head coach Tom Menas believes this group won’t miss a beat with Fafaul running the show.

“He’s got I think the best arm in the league this year as far as strength and accuracy,” Menas said. “In a lot of situations he hasn’t had the supporting cast to go with all that talent. Played on some great teams don’t get me wrong but I think with what we’ve surrounded him with this year, I think you’re probably looking at an MVP candidate.”

That potential MVP campaign begins at MVP Arena. The new Empire signal caller gets his first start for Albany at home on Saturday, April 23 against the Carolina Cobras.

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