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CEDAR RAPIDS – It wasn’t difficult to spot Clinton Solomon during pregame warm-ups. Just look for the black-and-gold T-shirt emblazoned with the Iowa Hawkeye Tigerhawk.
The former Iowa receiver (2002, 2004-05), now with the Texas Revolution in his sixth Indoor Football League season, caught nine passes for 85 yards in a 49-35 loss to the Cedar Rapids Titans last night at the U.S. Cellular Center.
“It’s been a long run,” said Solomon, 30. “The indoor game is a receivers game. I just found my niche.”
Solomon is near the top of the league in every receiving category with 49 catches for 598 yards and 11 TDs this season. After three years in Wichita and a pair of IFL titles in Sioux Falls, Solomon was traded closer to his hometown of Fort Worth (Texas) to the Revolution (2-6).
“I get a chance to play in front of my grandmother and my mom,” Solomon said. “You know my years are counting down. So I figured, let me go home and play in front of my family for the last couple of years.”
Cedar Rapids (8-1) won its eighth straight game, six by double digits. Quarterback Spencer Ohm returned from an undisclosed injury and threw for 127 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while running back LaRon Council ran for 94 yards and two scores.
The Titans haven’t lost since the Feb. 21 season opener at Texas – a game which made national news when running back Jennifer Welter became the first non-kicking female to appear in a professional football game. Welter remains on the Texas practice squad.
“That’s been a crazy experience, but a fun experience,” Solomon said. “She’s brought a lot to our team as far as publicity, a lot of excitement, a lot of fans. She’s been a great teammate.”
Solomon ranks ranks seventh in career receiving yards at Iowa (1,864), and after appearing as a freshman on the 2002 Brad Banks-led Orange Bowl team, he spent a year at Iowa Central Community College to get his grades in order.
“That was the moment of, ‘Who are you? What are you going to become?,’” Solomon said. “When I came back, I had a chip on my shoulder. I am blessed that they gave me the opportunity. Because without that, I don’t know where I’d be today.”
Solomon made the most of his second chance with a banner junior season (58 catches, 905 yards, six TDs), culminating in a second-team All-Big Ten selection for a 10-2 Iowa team which ended its season with a classic Capital One Bowl win thanks to the Drew Tate-to-Warren Holloway stunner against LSU.
“I can just remember running down the field, throwing my hands up, ‘Just throw me the ball, just throw it to me!,’” Solomon said of the play forever known as “The Catch.” “I got a guy on me, but Warren was wide open and Drew seen that and he made a great throw. That play was amazing.”
Solomon spent two years bouncing around NFL training camps and practice squads with the Rams, Titans and Bears. Today he is a special education teacher for Lake Ridge High School in Mansfield (Texas). While still holding on to NFL dreams, Solomon hears from his former Iowa roommate Jovon Johnson about life in the Canadian Football League.
“I’m ready, I just need an opportunity,” Solomon said. “That’s all I want. My age is catching up to me, but at the same time I feel like as long as I keep working out, keep grinding, who knows. Somebody might give me a chance.”