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Muscle Sport Magazine

LA KISS of the AFL: First Year Thoughts From Veteran WR Donovan Morgan

The vast majority of expansion teams in sports struggle on the field and make it up slightly with off-the-field promotions. But with the Arena Football League’s LA KISS, the show became even bigger than even a championship could have brought. When you have the likes of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley in the owner’s box, expect the unexpected – even a reality television series.

 

“It was a great experience,” veteran wide receiver Donovan Morgan says. “I never dealt with anything like that, even in the NFL.”

 

Morgan, 32, made his NFL debut in 2004 with the New York Jets and also played for the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs. (Morgan also spent time with the Buffalo Bills practice squad.) By 2008, the New Orleans native signed with the Chicago Rush and has played indoors in various leagues ever since. He has earned a number of accolades in the AFL, such as the 2008 Rookie of the Year, First Team All-Arena in 2010 and Second Team All-Arena in 2011 and 2014. He joined the KISS via a trade last February.

 

“You have to embrace it and take it in,” he commented regarding the high-profile ownership group. “You have a group of guys that do not know much about football but they have a great business sense.” Morgan further complimented Simmons and Stanley on their hospitality with, “They even invited (us) to their homes. Other owners – in the NFL or arena league – never did that.”

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Playing their home games at the Honda Center in Anaheim became more than just a night out at the game. It was an all-out rock concert with pyrotechnics and leather-clad dancers. This went over well not only with the fans, but the players, too.

 

“That was the craziest part,” Morgan said with a smile. “That’s what’s expected when you’re dealing with rock stars. I loved playing at home and it almost seemed like a waste of time playing on the road.”

 

The situation was so unique that AMC aired a weekly reality series, “Fourth and Loud,” based on the team. “That was a blast,” comments Morgan. “It felt like the old days of the AFL (before the 2009 one-year hiatus).”

 

But amidst the power chords and billowing smoke, the team’s inaugural campaign on the gridiron was not a successful one in the standings, finishing with a 3-15 record. “It’s hard to develop a team when you’re bringing in new guys every day,” Morgan says. “You need to stick with a group, even if you’re losing. You need to develop a brotherhood.

“But when you have a new team and the superstar owners guarantee the fans a championship in the first season…”

 

Now a free agent, Morgan has a decision to make as to where he wants to continue his career. The KISS has shown interest in bringing him back and while he loved Los Angeles and the experience with the team, he also has his family and location to think about.

 

“I’m not sure where I’ll end up,” he concluded.

 

But it may be difficult to wave goodbye to the spotlight that the KISS offers.

 

Be sure to follow Donovan Morgan on Instagram: @King_Morgan1

Photo: AFL/Mystic Lake Photography

 

 

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