Galloway takes break from NFL to watch his Destroyers

Joey Galloway is taking a break from his day job as a Bucs receiver. Instead, he's focused on Columbus, a team he co-owns, preparing for ArenaBowl XXI.

Updated: July 25, 2007, 7:47 AM ET
By William Bendetson | ESPN.com

Forgive Joey Galloway if he's a little distracted from his day job this week. Normally, Galloway would be preparing for training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Instead, he's preparing his ArenaBowl XXI pregame speech for the Columbus Destroyers, a team he co-owns.

"We are 3-for-3 with him giving the pregame speech," said Columbus coach Doug Kay, whose Destroyers have won three straight road games to advance to the championship game Sunday against San Jose. "Hopefully, we will be 4-for-4."

Joey Galloway
Scott A. Miller/US PresswireBetter known for his NFL on-field success, Joey Galloway's enjoying being the co-owner of the Destroyers.
Added Galloway, who has been part of the Destroyers since they moved to Columbus from Buffalo in 2003, "Those speeches have really been a privilege for me. I think the players really understand that I have been in a lot of big-game situations."

Galloway, who's in his 13th year in the NFL and his third year in Tampa Bay, knows a little something about football. He has 612 catches and 71 TDs and is willing to share his knowledge with his players. Galloway played with wide receiver Marcus Knight in Tampa Bay in 2004 and has has worked with Knight on his ability to get off the ball when facing press coverage. He also has given advice to Columbus all-star wide receiver Damien Groce. Galloway understands how close these receivers were to becoming successful NFL players.

"It is often about being in the right place at the right time," Galloway said. "Marcus is clearly a receiver that has the ability to play in the NFL, but it did not work out the way we would have hoped for many different reasons."

But Galloway does more than just work with receivers. Although he's not as hands-on as some other owners in the league, he tries to do what he can. Such as scout for players.

He constantly is trying to find players who are not quite good enough to make the Buccaneers but could help the Destroyers. Coach Kay admits that if he is thinking about signing an NFL player, he will consult Galloway.

"He has not found any players yet," said Kay, who is responsible for making all of the Destroyers' personnel decisions. "But he will find one sooner rather than later."

But as much as anything, Galloway is loving the simple idea of owning a club, of learning more about the game he loves. He knows all about the on-the-field tricks, but now he's learning all about the other side. He's dealing with things NFL owners who double as AFL owners -- such as Jerry Jones (Cowboys and Desperados), Arthur Blank (Falcons and Force) and Tom Benson (Saints and VooDoo) -- know all too well.

"It is really a chance to learn how a franchise works from another perspective," Galloway said. "When you are an NFL player, you don't really think about issues like ticket sales and sponsorships. You get a more well rounded view of how sports work."

Galloway loves that the league has improved the quality of play and that the product on and off the field is improving each and every year. He marvels at how the league constantly works to think of the fans.

"The league really does a great job of allowing the fans to get close to the players," he said.

And Galloway has been one of its biggest fans for years, enjoying the league even before he bought the Destroyers. Now, he has a little more at stake. He'll miss two days of training camp to attend ArenaBowl XXI in New Orleans.

"It is definitely worth it," Galloway said.

A championship, after all, would not be bad way to start training camp.

William Bendetson covers football for ESPN.com.