San Jose SaberCats defensive lineman Alan Harper wants another championship ring.
Harper, who played at Fresno State, will get that chance when the SaberCats play the Philadelphia Soul for the ArenaBowl championship at noon today in New Orleans.
Last season, Harper helped San Jose to its third AFL championship -- his first -- in a 55-33 victory over the Columbus Destroyers. In that game, he recorded two tackles.
This season, Harper has 19 1/2 tackles, four sacks and two fumble recoveries.
Harper and the SaberCats played the Soul earlier this season. Philadelphia defeated San Jose 58-57 at HP Pavilion.
Harper is in his third season in the AFL after playing 11 games for the New York Jets in 2004. The Jets drafted Harper in 2002 in the fourth round (121st overall).
Question: How did you get into ArenaFootball?
Answer: [Former Fresno State standout] Rodney Wright. He gave me a call when I was released by the Jets and I was debating. I wanted to give it another shot in the NFL and I didn't get any phone calls. I came down [to San Jose] and I made the team. I'm fortunate to have a job ... a good job at that.
How special was it to play in the ArenaBowl last season?
It was a great experience to get to New Orleans to play. First thing we had to do is beat Chicago for the American Conference championship at home. They had put us out the year before, and for us to get to New Orleans and all the things we had to go through I can't explain it.
Your team lost to the Soul by a point earlier in the season. Will that serve as a motivation to overcome that loss?
Definitely. If you watch the game we were up by 21 and we let them sneak back in. They were doing a lot of celebrating on our field and that left a bad taste in our mouth. It was like they won the Arena-Bowl. We let them off the hook and we had them beat. Just to lose like that was a disappointment.
Which NFL game stands out the most?
My best game would have to be against the Pittsburgh Steelers [in an AFC Divisional playoff game in 2005]. I made a tackle for a loss and that highlighted my career.
Any promotional visits before game day?
We're going to Children's Hospital and do stuff there and the league is having a dinner.