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Eagles Camp Football

Former Davenport Central and Iowa offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde has been involved in 20 NFL transactions since joining the league.

AP

The Quad-City Steamwheelers found a capable replacement last week for CFL-departed center Tre Goins.

However, the local Champions Indoor Football team is eyeballing an even bigger trump card this weekend for fill-in Darius Crosby.

Former NFL center Julian Vandervelde, a Davenport Central product and former Iowa Hawkeye, joined the Wheelers for practice Wednesday night on a tryout agreement.

"Julian said he wanted to see what it looks like," Q-C coach Cory Ross said earlier during the team's media luncheon at The Current hotel.

"He's been itching to play. He wants to see if he's still got it, and it's good timing with Goins leaving (for a CFL free-agent tryout camp).

"Darius had a couple of bad snaps early, otherwise didn't play badly, but if Julian's good to go, he would really solidify our offensive line going forward."

Vandervelde owns the dubious record for being released 21 times over his NFL career.

The 30-year-old was with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2011-2015, with an offseason and practice-squad stop with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2011-12) in between.

Vandervelde played 18 NFL games in those five seasons. The Eagles selected the four-time Academic All-Big Ten lineman in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-2, 300-pounder was a second team All-Big Ten performer in 2010.

"We'll see how he feels and where his conditioning is at," Ross said. "It never hurts to take a look, either as a player or coach, to see if it's going to work out."

Ross added the Wheelers also are close to signing a replacement for Goins' fellow CFL tryout attendee defensive back Tre Hunter.

As for Goins and Hunter, Ross reports both remain in a wait-and-see mode after the weekend workout with the B.C. Lions.

Big weekend: The Wheelers have a promotion-packed Saturday night in store for a rematch with the Omaha Beef, the lone team to beat Q-C in the last seven weekends.

For starters, Military Appreciation Night honors anyone connected to the Rock Island Arsenal with a 20-percent discount on tickets for those with a military ID.

The Wheelers also are sponsoring the Saturday morning Run the Rock race on the Arsenal, with free tickets going to participants.

A special swearing-in ceremony for new soldiers is planned at halftime at the TaxSlayer Center.

The team also is handing out a limited supply of noisemakers, in an idea borrowed from Q-C's visit to Omaha last month.

"They only had about 2,000 fans that night, but it was so loud, we could hardly hear ourselves think," Q-C owner Doug Bland said. "I noticed back in the old days they had a Steamwheeler whistle, but this is more like a foghorn."

The sound is so loud, Ross joked about replacing his practice whistle with a noisemaker.

"Our defense is going to love the noise because they feed off the crowd," the coach said. "Just don't use it when we're on offense."

True to your school: Davenport Central also is benefiting from ticket sales Saturday in the latest episode of the School Night promotion from the Wheelers. To donate proceeds from a ticket, fans need to use the online purchase code, DCentral.

"I know I'm coming out fired up," said Q-C wideout Keyvan Rudd, one of two Central alums, along with running back Zach Minch, on the Wheelers current roster.

"I'm hoping to have a huge game and represent my alma mater well. It's also special because it's Military Appreciation Night, and on top of that it's a revenge game with Omaha beating us the first time around.

"Everybody who lives here or who has grown up here knows how important the island is to our community. So we all just want to go out and show those folks a good time."

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