With the team finally approaching the end of a tumultuous week, the New Orleans VooDoo will have an opportunity to get back to what it cares about most Saturday.
“Of course, we see all the headlines and we hear the news that’s come out about the team this week,” VooDoo receiver Chris Duvalt said. “But at the end of the day, we can’t worry about any of that stuff.
“Once we get back on that field (Saturday), we’ll finally get to do what we love and play the game of football.”
With the AFL announcing this week that it will be taking over the operations of the Voodoo (2-12) — along with the Las Vegas Outlaws — because of recent financial hardships, the majority of recent headlines surrounding the VooDoo haven’t been about football.
But with Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Storm being the final home game of the season for the VooDoo, some have wondered if it will also be the final home game in New Orleans in franchise history.
Sources told The Advocate that there may be “one or two” local investors interested in keeping the team in New Orleans, but SportsNola.com’s Ken Trahan also reported this week that there may be potential investors that are looking into moving the team to Texas for the 2016 season.
The AFL also announced Thursday the league canceled the scheduled game between the VooDoo and the Outlaws on July 25.
It was the first time the league was forced to cancel a game since 2012.
Regardless of what the team’s future may hold, VooDoo coach Dean Cokinos has fought to keep the team focused on playing well in its last home game of the season and trying to break its eight-game losing streak.
“To be frank, it’s not like we didn’t see the news coming, so I don’t think our guys will be affected too much,” Cokinos said. “Things haven’t really changed that much for them since the news came out, so our focus is to just try and get a win for our fans on Saturday.”
Duvalt was a player Cokinos singled out as a guy who has consistently led the team with his play on the field despite the off-field distractions surrounding the team.
Duvalt has been the team’s most consistent passing target all season, hauling in 96 catches for 1,116 yards and 21 total touchdowns this season. In last week’s loss against the San Jose Sabercats — the team with the No. 1 defense in the AFL — Duvalt racked up career-highs in catches (15), yards (165) and tied his career-high for touchdown grabs with three.
“I’ve just been focused on taking care of business and playing for the name on the back of my jersey, regardless of whatever else is going on,” Duvalt said.