Over the last couple of weeks, the Streets’ defense has undergone a number of changes and one of them was the addition of former Jets defensive lineman Matt Hardison. At 6-4 and 295 pounds, Hardison is playing linebacker for the Streets after prior Arena Football experience with the Tampa Bay Storm, Las Vegas Outlaws, New Orleans Voodoo and Cleveland Gladiators.
Hardison is glad to be playing professional football in the Big Apple once again.
“I am very excited to be a member of the Streets,” said the Freehold, New Jersey native. “It’s always a blessing to get to play the game that you love. In my time with the staff and team, I feel at home. I love the hunger to be great that is in the building night in and night out.”
After three seasons at Rutgers, Hardison played his final two years of college football at Delaware where he registered 29 tackles and a sack over 24 games for the Blue Hens. He joined the Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2012 and was released late in training camp but was re-signed to the practice squad.
“I had an amazing time with the Jets,” said Hardison. “I learned a lot about how to be a professional. I had great veteran leadership with guys like Bart Scott and Darrelle Revis teaching everyday. The coaching staff also taught me a lot about the game and how to approach each day as far as taking care of my body and watching film.”
In 2013, Hardison was with the Cincinnati Bengals before embarking on a career playing Arena Football. It’s not always an easy transition for a player that is used to the game on the big field to be comfortable playing on the fifty yard field. But Hardison has been able to get adjusted to the indoor game and that has given him the opportunity to continuing playing football.
“I love Arena Football,” said Hardison. “It’s a completely different game but that’s what makes it so great. It gives you another opportunity to play and if you are doing it at this level you know it’s for the love of the game.”
And now the Streets are fortunate to have a player of Matt’s caliber with so much indoor experience. For any Arena Football team, especially and expansion club like the Streets, it’s important to find quality players that have Arena Football experience to blend in with players that are new to the indoor game. The addition of Hardison is a big acquisition for the Streets.
“Matt is a veteran defensive lineman and will help us with our three rookies out of the SEC,” said Head Coach Rick Marsilio. “However, Matt can be a game changer for us at linebacker. We are expecting. Big things to the defensive line and linebackers with Matt’s addition to the mix. It’s always a positive to get a player the caliber of Matt.”
Hardison, who is wearing number 47, made his Streets debut on June 22nd in Jacksonville and recorded a half a tackle. As he continues to get familiar with his new club and his new teammates, Hardison has quickly learned just how hungry this team is to win as the Streets try to put an end to their six game losing streak this Friday night against the Massachusetts Pirates at the Westchester County Center (7pm MSG).
The veteran defensive standout is hoping to be a big part of the Streets’ push for a playoff spot.
“From what I’ve seen, we have all of the pieces,” said Hardison. “We just have to put them together. Everyone is working and now we just need to transfer that to consistent play. We all want a championship and are willing to make the adjustments and sacrifices to get there.”
Hardison and the Streets host the Massachusetts Pirates this Friday night July 5th at 7pm at the Westchester County Center. Tickets are available for Saturday’s game at ticketmaster.com and at the County Center box office. For season ticket and group ticket information, please call 1-833-697-8733 and choose extension one.