By David Boclair
It has been more than two years since Dexter McCluster played his last NFL game. Since then, the former Tennessee Titans running back has found other places to play.
Today, he is a member of the Massachusetts Pirates, one of six teams in the National Arena League. Last year, he spent time with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
“After playing seven years in the NFL and being around all of that talent and all of those professionals, I kind of paid attention and took heed of how they doing it, keeping their bodies in shape,” McCluster told The Associated Press. “I tried to do that myself, and I work out like a maniac. I feel 22. For me to be able to compete at a high level, my key is I never let up.
“I’m not old at all … but I am not 22 anymore. It goes to show if you have the competitive edge and still want to chase your dream or compete in the game you love, take care of your body.”
For the record, McCluster is 29 years old. He will turn 30 in August.
He debuted with his current team — he is a wide receiver in the National Arena League — by catching three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown. He added four receptions for 33 yards and another touchdown plus one rush for two yards in his second game this past Saturday.
McCluster signed during a Pirates’ bye week. They were 1-4 before his arrival but have gone 2-0 with him.
“It’s definitely different, more condensed,” he said. “You score faster and more often, you get open quicker. Me coming in at the bye week was an extra advantage to get used to it, acclimated to indoors, learn the playbook and allow me to have a pretty good game.”
A second-round pick in 2010 by the Kansas City Chiefs, McCluster played all or parts of seven seasons in the NFL, two with the Titans (2014-15). Although he is a newcomer to the indoor game, that experience has given him a certain cache with his new teammates.
“Dexter is a no-excuse kind of guy,” his coach, Anthony Payton told the AP. “When I have to correct him on anything he does wrong, which is hardly anything, the way the players see him respond, it kind of humbles them a little bit.
“He is all ears, and wants to be the best player in this league.”
Photo by Getty Images.