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George LaFrance

Offensive Specialist

George LaFrance
Photo by Chris Arnold
AFL Experience: 11th season
Height: 6-0
Weight: 180
Date of Birth: 9/24/65
College: Baker


1988: In his rookie season, helped lead Detroit to its first Arena Football title...Caught 39 passes for 439 yards and nine touchdowns in 12-game season...Averaged 21.4 yards on 31 kick returns and scored two touchdowns on returns.

1989: Came into his own in the league's odd four-game season, catching 17 passes for 335 yards and league-leading nine touchdowns...Also scored two touchdowns on kick returns and averaged 25.6 yards per return...Named the league's Most Valuable Player...Accomplished the MVP double when he was named MVP of ArenaBowl III; he caught two passes for 39 yards and a touchdown...Also accounted for 66 yards on five returns in the ArenaBowl...Set record that still stands with eight missed field goal returns at Maryland (7/15).

1991: Came back after a one-year hiatus; voted League MVP for the second time...Scored 19 touchdowns and tallied 1,565 total yards in 10-game season...Led league with 17 receiving touchdowns...Caught four passes for 69 yards and scored a touchdown in ArenaBowl V loss to Tampa Bay (8/17).

1992: Named MVP of ArenaBowl VI (8/22) after catching five passes for 67 yards and a touchdown; also returned three kickoffs for 105 yards and a touchdown...Scored 14 touchdowns, all receiving, and caught 50 passes for 797 yards...Set league playoff record for longest kickoff return on a 57-yarder vs. Sacramento (8/7); in the same game, he set the playoff record for highest kickoff return average, returning three kickoffs for 120 yards, a 40.0 yard average.

1993: Caught 56 passes for 869 yards and 13 touchdowns; added 949 yards on kick returns in leading the Drive to their sixth consecutive ArenaBowl appearance...Tallied 173 total yards in ArenaBowl loss to Tampa Bay (8/21), including an ArenaBowl-record 121 yards on kick returns.

1994: Acquired by the Storm in a six-player trade... Underused by coach Lary Kuharich; he split time at offensive specialist with Stevie Thomas...Tied a league record by scoring two touchdowns on kick returns in a single game at Fort Worth (7/18)...Also tied a league record for longest reception---49 yards, on a pass from Jay Gruden at Arizona (7/30).

1995: Finally settled into a groove with the Storm when he was reunited with Tim Marcum, his coach in Detroit...Marcum moved Thomas to WR/LB, allowing LaFrance to take over as the full-time offensive specialist...Respoded to the challenge of additional playing time with gusto, catching 64 passes for 959 yards and 16 touchdowns...He added two more scores on kickoff returns...Shone in the Storm's ArenaBowl IX appearance (9/1), earning game MVP honors by scoring three unanswered touchdowns in the first and second quarters to turn a 15-8 Storm deficit into a 29-15 lead...For the game, he tallied 7 catches for 37 yards and two touchdowns; he added four kickoff returns for an ArenaBowl-record 111 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown which started his scoring outburst.

1996: Enjoyed the best season of his storied career, posting career highs in receptions (100), yards (1,258) and receiving touchdowns (30)... Also notched a career best in return yardage (1,570)...Led the Storm in receptions, yards and touchdowns...Ranked fourth in the AFL in receptions, fourth in receiving yardage and second in touchdowns...Led the league in kick returns and finished second in yardage...Caught 8 passes for 155 yards and five touchdowns in semifinal win over Arizona (8/16)...Incredibly, was not named to either the first or second All-AFL teams.

1997: When all was said and done, it was another outstanding year for LaFrance, the Storm's leader in receptions (93), receiving yardage (1,131), touchdowns (23), return yardage (1200) and all-purpose yardage (2,331)...Was eighth in the league in scoring with 140 points, sixth in receptions, eighth in receiving yards and first in all-purpose yards...Began the season by catching 8 passes for 80 yards and scoring twice in the Storm's win at Arizona (5/3)...Had 94 yards on eight receptions two weeks later against Orlando (5/17)...At Nashville (5/23), had eight catches for 99 yards and scored four times...Against Milwaukee (5/30), he caught eight passes for a season-best 131 yards and again scored four times...Had a terrific individual game in the Storm's loss at Albany (6/7), catching nine passes for 100 yards and scoring three touchdowns; he also had 130 yards on eight returns...Caught nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown against New York (6/21)...Had his only touchdown on a kick return of 1997 at Orlando (6/27); it was a 56-yard kickoff return early in the fourth quarter...Had four receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown against Anaheim (7/12)...Scored twice and had seven catches for 82 yards against Iowa (7/19)...Transferred from offensive specialist to WR/DB before the second game against Florida (7/26)...Ended the year with his best game of the season, replacing an injured Wayne Walker in the first quarter of the Storm's win at San Jose (8/2)... LaFrance ended the game with season highs in receptions (nine), return yardage (145) and total yardage (257) as he was named the game's MVP...Led the Storm in total yardage in the playoff win at Nashville (8/10), gaining 55 yards on six returns and 94 yards on seven receptions...Caught three touchdown passes, including a 40-yarder in the first quarter...At Arizona (8/16), he returned four kickoffs for 68 yards and caught six passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns...His 294 total yards and five touchdowns led the Storm for the postseason.

1998: The legend of LaFrance continued to grow in 1998 as he waved his finger in the face of Father Time with perhaps his best season since joining the Storm in 1994...He set franchise records for receiving touchdowns (35), overall touchdowns (36), touchdowns in a game (seven) and missed field goal return yardage (427)...LaFrance's standards broke marks in all of those categories that he had attained in the championship season of 1996...In addition, his seven touchdowns in one game, against Houston on May 16, tied a league record for receiving touchdowns in a game...He also set a league record for missed field goal return yardage, breaking Hunkie Cooper's record of 424 set in 1993...However gaudy his numbers ended up being, they seemed to be just a distant hope after Week One at San Jose (5/1), when he did not catch a pass in a game for the first time in his career...His playing time had been reduced as the Storm emphasized fleet-footed Wayne Walker in the offense...In the second quarter of the Storm's Week Two loss to Nashville, Walker injured his groin, and LaFrance returned to offensive specialist, a title he would not give up the rest of the way...Caught four passes for 83 yards and four scores, including a 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter...Tallied 199 all-purpose yards in just two and a half quarters, including 61 on four kickoff returns and 55 on three missed field goals...Returned a missed Jorge Cimadevilla field goal 39 yards to set up his own score in the second quarter...Set a Storm record and tied a league record with seven touchdown receptions against Houston (5/16)...Broke his own team record of five set on 5/11/96 against Texas...Caught nine passes for 106 yards...Accumulated 139 yards on kick returns, including a 46-yard missed field goal return and a 33-yard kickoff return...Named the league's Player of the Week for his efforts...Went over the 500-catch mark and 1,000-point barrier on consecutive plays in the second quarter at Florida (5/23) when he caught a 12-yard pass and an eight-yard score from Peter Tom Willis...On the last play of the first half, scored in a 54-yard missed field goal return that saw him run laterally all the way across the field and run circles in the end zone to break free...It was the longest missed field goal return in team history...Also set a franchise record with 96 yards of MFG returns...Caught four passes for 118 yards and three touchdowns at New Jersey (5/30)...All three scores came in the second quarter, on passes of 42, 34 and 32 yards...Accounted for 50 yards on three kickoff returns....Against New York (6/6), he was silent on offense in the first half, catching no passes...However, he came alive in the second, hauling in four passes for 74 yards and three scores as he was named the game's MVP...Also accounted for 17 yards on a missed field goal return and 38 more on three kickoff returns...Caught five passes for 62 yards and one score at Orlando (6/12)...Led the Storm with 122 all-purpose yards, as he accounted for 21 on one missed field goal return and 39 on two kickoff returns...Surpassed the Storm's single-season record for missed field goal return yardage in a season; his 19-yard return of a missed 54-yard attempt by Pete Elezovic in the third quarter against Albany (6/20) put him at 289 yards for the season, bettering his mark of 280 set two seasons ago...Accounted for 100 all-purpose yards...Caught two passes for 13 yards and a third-quarter score...Returned four kickoffs for 68 yards...The touchdown extended LaFrance's streak of scoring in games to seven...Led the Storm with nine catches for 78 yards and three touchdowns against Orlando (6/27)...Scored once in the second, third and fourth quarters...His third quarter score was especially spectacular, as he dove for the ball in the back right corner of the end zone, barely managing to keep his feet inbounds as his momentum pushed him off the field of play...Added 32 yards on two missed field goal returns and 41 on three kickoffs...Ended the game with 151 all-purpose yards...Named the game's Most Valuable Player, at Houston (7/2), gaining 109 all-purpose yards---69 on six receptions and 40 on two kickoff returns...Of his six receptions, four were for touchdowns, from 14, 6, 29 and 7 yards...Two of his scores came in a 52 second span of the second quarter, turning a 24-14 Storm deficit into a 28-24 halftime lead...The ThunderBears will probably cringe if they see LaFrance again; in two games against Houston in 1998, LaFrance caught 11 touchdowns...In front of a national TV audience against Florida (7/12), he caught six passes for 56 yards and scored twice...Set up his first score with a 31-yard kickoff return...Scored with 22 seconds left in the second quarter on a pass from Peter Tom Willis that put the Storm up 21-10 going into halftime...Accounted for 153 all-purpose yards, factoring in 97 yards on five kick returns...Ran back three missed field goals for 50 yards and two kickoffs for 47 yards...Proving that even the best stumble, he made a rare mistake at Nashville (7/17), muffing a third-quarter Kats kickoff that was recovered by Nashville WR/DB Darryl Hammond for a score and a 36-22 lead...Led the Storm in kickoff return yardage (88), missed field goal return yardage (33), total return yardage (121), receptions (three), receiving yardage (62) and all-purpose yardage (183)...Scored his lone points of the game on a 19-yard pass from Peter Tom Willis with 21 seconds left in the game...Went without a reception in the first half, but broke out of that funk with a 27-yard catch- and-run on the first play of the third quarter...In the regular season home finale against Iowa (7/25), he was named the game's Most Valuable Player after catching six passes for a season-high 140 yards and four touchdowns...Two of his scores were on plays covering 40 yards or more, with a 40-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter and a bobbling, diving 42-yard scoring grab in the third...Accounted for 81 yards on five kickoff returns and eight yards on one missed field goal return, giving him 231 all-purpose yards, his most of 1998...At Grand Rapids (8/1), he had his second straight 100-yard game, pacing the Storm with 113 yards on five catches...Added 83 yards on kick returns...Scored twice, on receptions of 27 and 44 yards in the first half...Began the postseason with a fluorish, scoring two touchdowns and catching six passes for 117 yards against San Jose (8/8)...Hauled in nine passes for 117 yards and three scores, including the one that gave the Storm the lead for good, in the semifinal win over the Red Dogs...Led all receivers with six catches for 88 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the second quarter, in ArenaBowl XII.

1999: Began the season as the starter at offensive specialist; in 1998, he was benched for the first two games of the season in favor of since- suspended Wayne Walker...Accounted for 179 all-purpose yards in Week One against Albany (4/24); he caught five passes for 97 yards and returned five kickoffs for 82 yards...Punctuating his evening was a 32-yard touchdown grab for the Storm's first points of the season and a crucial 14-yard reception on a fourth-and-ten situation in the fourth quarter...Making the fourth down catch all the more meaningful were two circumstances...a) it was a diving, body-parallel-to-the-ground reception; b) it put him over the 8,000-yard mark in his career for receiving yardage...Five nights later at Milwaukee (5/29), he caught five passes for 80 yards and three scores, and added 89 yards on five kickoff returns...Came alive in the fourth quarter, hauling in two touchdowns, including a 37-yarder with 7:52 remaining...Accounted for 127 all-purpose yards in the win over Florida (5/15)...Led the team in receiving with five catches for 61 yards, including two scores of 11 and 18 yards...Added 66 yards on four kick returns, including a 27-yard missed field goal return which set up a Stevie Thomas touchdown reception midway through the second quarter.

Career Highlights: Statistically speaking, the greatest receiver and kick returner in Arena Football history...Is all-time league leader in missed field goal returns, kickoff returns, return yardage, return touchdowns , receptions and receiving yards...Selected to the AFL's Tenth Anniversary Team as OS/KR...Is the only player to return a kickoff for a touchdown in the ArenaBowl, and has done it twice...both times against Orlando, in 1992 with Detroit and in 1995 with the Storm.

AFL Statistics



Date  Opponent    REC    YDS    AVG   LG    TD
4/24  Albany        5     97   19.6   32     2
4/29  Milwaukee     5     80   16.0   37     3
5/15  Florida       5     61   12.2   18     2
SEASON TOTALS      15    238   15.9   37     7


Date  Opponent    KOR   YDS   MFG   YDS   TOT   YDS   AVG  TD
4/24  Albany        5    82     0     0     5    82  16.4   0
4/29  Milwaukee     5    89     1     2     6    91  15.2   0
5/15  Florida       2    38     2    28     4    66  16.5   0
SEASON TOTALS      12   209     3    30    14   239  16.1   0



Year  Team        REC    YDS    AVG   LG    TD
1988  Detroit      39    439   11.3   40     9
1989  Detroit      17    335   19.7   45     9
1991  Detroit      39    674   18.0   45    17
1992  Detroit      50    797   15.9   47    14
1993  Detroit      56    869   15.5   43    13
1994  Tampa Bay    28    469   16.8   49    10
1995  Tampa Bay    64    959   15.0   45    16
1996  Tampa Bay   100   1258   12.5   44    30
1997  Tampa Bay    93   1131   12.2   22    22
1998  Tampa Bay    65    994   15.3   45    35
1999  Tampa Bay    15    238   15.9   37     7
CAREER TOTALS     566   8163   14.4   49   182


Year  Team        KOR   YDS   MFG   YDS   TOT   YDS   AVG  TD
1988  Detroit      17   508    14   156    31   664  21.4   2   
1989  Detroit      10   276    14   211    24   487  20.3   2  
1991  Detroit      31   700    11   207    42   907  21.6   2
1992  Detroit      36   736    15   239    51   975  19.1   0
1993  Detroit      48   802     9   147    57   949  16.6   0
1994  Tampa Bay    33   758     5    82    38   840  22.1   3
1995  Tampa Bay    45   843    17   267    62  1110  17.9   2
1996  Tampa Bay    63  1282    22   288    85  1570  18.4   2
1997  Tampa Bay    59  1024    11   176    70  1200  17.1   1
1998  Tampa Bay    42   741    24   427    66  1168  17.7   1
1999  Tampa Bay    12   209     3    30    14   239  16.1   0
CAREER TOTALS     396  7879   145  2230   541 10109  18.7  15 

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