The Massachusetts Pirates have signed two-time National Championship linebacker Xzavier Dickson for the 2020 season. Dickson was a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide title teams in 2012 and 2013 before being selected by the New England Patriots in the 2015 NFL Draft.
“I’m just excited to play football again. I’m just grateful for the opportunity. I’m ready to get on the field and I love Boston. I was drafted by the Patriots and now I’m back in Massachusetts,” he said.
At Alabama, Dickson played in 46 games are recorded 91 tackles (52 solo), 21 tackles for a loss, 14 sacks and broke up two passes. While in Tuscaloosa, he was a member of Southeast Conference Championship teams in 2012 and 2014.
“It was a great experience with great coaches and a great fan base. The people in Tuscaloosa are just great overall. It’s a football town and I love it. There were a lot of moments to cherish. We won back to back championships. I won a National Championship my freshman and sophomore years. It was an awesome experience overall,” he said.
Pirates President and General Manager Jawad Yatim is counting on Dickson’s experience to rub off on the Pirates.
"Xzavier is a seasoned pass rusher who has experience winning at a high level and has been coached by some of the best to do it. He's made some big plays in big moments. He led an extremely talented Alabama defense in sacks his senior year depicting the type of player he can be. He's versatile and can play multiple positions along our defensive front as well. We’re certainly glad to have him," Yatim said.
As a senior in 2014, Dickson (6’3” 245 lbs.) was tenth in the SEC in tackles for a loss with 13 and fifth in the conference with nine sacks. He’ll always remember the work ethic that was stressed by Head Coach Nick Saban.
“You have to be dedicated and disciplined to what you want to do. That’s the biggest take-a-way I got from coach Saban. You should always grind and do what you are supposed to be doing. To succeed, it takes great discipline and hard work,” he said.
Dickson grew up in Griffin, GA and was a fan of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. He could hardly believe it when the Patriots drafted him in the seventh round of the NFL Draft with pick number 253 in 2015.
“Just being drafted was a blessing. A true story; my favorite team is the Patriots. That was my favorite team growing up. My favorite player was (Tom) Brady. That was a great moment in my life,” he said.
After he release from New England, Dickson signed on with the Atlanta Falcons. In 2016 he had a short stint with the Edmonton Eskimos and then left football for two seasons for personal reasons. Then last season he got a call from the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football. He played in six of seven games and recorded one interception.
“I was just fortunate to get a break with Birmingham. I got back to my old habits and started grinding, working out, busting my butt,” Dickson said.
Now his comeback continues in Massachusetts.
“Since I’ve been out of football, I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be able to play the game and the sport that I love. I’ll just give it my all. I know a little bit about arena football, but it’s going to be a brand-new experience for me. It’s going to be fun and I’ll make the most of it. They hit hard in the arena leagues’; I can say that. As an athlete you must adapt to certain situations. As a football player we are so used to adapting and making changes on the fly, so I feel like I’ll adjust to this. I want to show the Massachusetts Pirates that I am a great player, so this is a great moment,” he added.
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Forster St. Worcester, MA, 01608. Pirates season tickets for the 2020 season are now available starting at $99.00. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.masspiratesfootball.com. Follow the Pirates on Facebook, at Facebook.com/MAPirates, on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as on Twitter @mass_pirates.