SALT LAKE CITY -- The Arena Football League released its 19-week schedule for the 2013 season on Tuesday, and the Utah Blaze found out their path to what they hope is an ArenaBowl title.
Utah opens the 2013 season on the road against the Pittsburgh Power on March 23, then stages its home opener against the Arizona Rattlers in a rematch of the 2012 National Conference championship on March 29.
The matchup against Arizona is the first
contest in a three-game home stand for the Blaze.
The Arena Football League office also announced it has reached a two-year television agreement with CBS Sports Network.
Meanwhile, the Blaze staff has been adding key signees over the past week, announcing several signees on Tuesday. The Blaze added a pair of former West Division foes to its roster in defensive back Josh Ferguson and offensive lineman Isaac Leatiota.
Ferguson spent the past two seasons with the Spokane Shock, while Leatiota is coming off a rookie campaign with the San Jose SaberCats.
Earlier, the team signed a two-year contract with veteran Arena Football wide receiver L.J. Castile. Castile spent the first two years of his AFL career with the New Orleans VooDoo.
"L.J. is the kind of big-bodied wideout that can thrive in our offense," said coach Ron James. "He made a lot of big plays for New Orleans and is a true threat in the red zone. I expect L.J. to provide our offense with another physical presence at the receiver position."
On the defensive side of the ball, the Blaze also added rookie defensive back Torez Jones. Jones earned a contract following a stellar showing in a private workout with the team.
The Blaze agreed to terms with rookie defensive back Justin Taplin-Ross, a University of Utah product who joins the team after attending training camp with the Dallas Cowboys.
Earlier in the week, the Blaze announced that the franchise hasdreached two-year agreements with defensive end Caesar Rayford and defensive back Al Phillips. Phillips is the team's all-time leading tackler, while Rayford holds the franchise record for sacks.
Rayford (6-7, 275, Washington) has played in a franchise record of 49 straight games and is the most productive pass rusher in team history. During his three-year tenure with Utah, he has accumulated a Blaze record of 22.5 sacks. A starter in all 20 games,
Phillips (5-11, 190, Wagner) is already Utah's all-time leading tackler after posting 151.5 stops (124 solo) during his first two seasons with the Blaze. The Utah Blaze have agreed to terms with former NFL offensive tackle Mario Henderson, rookie QB Nick Stephens, WR Chase Deadder, WR Braylon Bell, OL Branden Curry, DE Roberto Davis, DT Pablo Garcia, OL Bryce Tennison and DT Renard Williams.
Utah Blaze 2013 schedule
March 23 at Pittsburgh Power 5 p.m.
March 29 ARIZONA RATTLERS 7:30 p.m.
April 6 TAMPA BAY STORM 8 p.m.
April 20 CHICAGO RUSH TBA
April 27 at Cleveland Gladiators 5 p.m.
May 4 SPOKANE SHOCK 7 p.m.
May 11 at Arizona Rattlers 7 p.m.
May 18 IOWA BARNSTORMERS 7 p.m.
May 25 at San Jose SaberCats 8:30 p.m.
June 3 at San Antonio Talons 6:30 p.m.
June 7 at Chicago Rush 6:30 p.m.
June 15 JACKSONVILLE SHARKS 7 p.m.
Jun 21 at Spokane Shock 8 p.m.
June 29 SAN JOSE SABERCATS 7 p.m.
July 6 NEW ORLEANS VOODOO 7 p.m.
July 13 at Philadelphia Soul 5:35 p.m.
July 20 at Iowa Barnstormers 6:05 p.m.
July 27 CLEVELAND GLADIATORS 7 p.m.