AFL NOTES: With three years of arena football experience, Duke Pettijohn has established himself as one of the top fullback/linebackers in the Arena Football League. After a collegiate career as a linebacker, he has picked up the nuances of playing on the offensive side of the ball and is averaging 3.0 yards-per-carry, including 5.1 yards in 2003. He signed with the Desperados on Oct. 16, 2003 and provided Dallas with a veteran player that provided solid, consistent play throughout his first season in Dallas. He began his AFL career in 2002 with the Orlando Predators, where he spent two seasons.
AFL 2004: After signing with Dallas as a free agent on Oct. 16, 2003, Pettijohn finished the season with career-highs in tackles (44.0) and sacks (2.5), while tying his career-best in fumble recoveries (two). He also accounted for 66 rushing yards on eight carries. In his Dallas debut against Carolina (2/8), he posted three tackles and a six-yard carry. Against Philadelphia (2/15), he recorded a career-high seven tackles before carrying the ball five times for nine yards and two scores, catching two passes for 13 yards, and posting 1.5 tackles at New York (2/22). He was inactive/injured for the game at Columbus (2/29), but returned against Grand Rapids (3/6) and responded with 1.5 tackles, half a sack and half a tackle for a loss. He was inactive with a sprained left ankle at Carolina (3/13) and against Los Angeles (3/21). Pettijohn returned to the field at Philadelphia (4/4) and led the team in rushing yards (12 on two carries) and tackles (four), while adding 15 yards on two receptions and a fumble recovery. Against San Jose (4/10), he was named ADT Defensive Player of the Game after tallying two tackles, a sack and forcing a third quarter fumble that Dallas recovered to help them erase a 10-point deficit and take a 37-34 lead. He led the team in tackles with six while catching a 15-yard pass and adding a rushing touchdown from four yards out at Arizona (4/18). Playing against his former team at Orlando (4/25), Pettijohn notched five stops and a pressure while rushing once for six yards and adding a seven-yard catch. Against New York (5/1), he registered three tackles on defense while rushing three times for three yards on offense. He tied for second on the squad with four tackles, broke up two pass attempts, added half sack and half a tackle for a loss, two rushes for three yards and two receptions for 16 yards at Austin (5/9). At Chicago (5/16), Pettijohn carried the ball once for nine yards while adding 1.5 stops on defense. Against Columbus (5/22), he rushed two times for 20 yards – including a season-long 20-yard touchdown run – and posted half a tackle, half a tackle for a loss and half a sack on defense. In the season finale against Tampa Bay (5/20), he tied for second on the unit with five tackles and recovered a fumble that he returned for a touchdown to open the second half. He also had one rush for four yards.
AFL 2003: After missing the first three games of the season while on Orlando’s Reserve/Exempt list, Pettijohn returned to the indoor game at Carolina (2/21) and rushed for 15 yards and a touchdown on three carries while contributing a quarterback pressure on defense. At New York (3/2), he registered a 12-yard rush, a seven-yard reception, half a tackle and a fumble recovery. The next week against Indiana (3/10), he posted a tackle and a fumble recovery on defense while carrying the ball once on offense. He totaled four tackles at Tampa Bay (3/16) before adding 3.5 stops and a pass deflection against Georgia (3/23). Against Los Angeles (3/30), Pettijohn carried the ball twice for 29 yards – including a 25-yard touchdown run – caught a six-yard pass and totaled 1.5 tackles. He tallied three stops, including one for a loss, at Arizona (4/6), then led the Predators with 16 rushing yards and a touchdown on five carries against Buffalo (4/11). He registered 5.5 tackles and a stop behind the line of scrimmage against Las Vegas (4/20) while also rushing the ball twice for nine yards and a touchdown and catching an 11-yard pass. He contributed three tackles at Georgia (4/26) before totaling a tackle and 15 rushing yards on two carries – including the game-winning touchdown in overtime – at Colorado (5/4). Pettijohn carried the ball twice for 11 yards and two scores against Carolina (5/11) while catching an eight-yard pass and posting two tackles, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble. He closed out the regular season with 2.5 tackles and two pass deflections at Detroit (5/16). After a first round bye, Pettijohn opened the postseason by rushing for three yards and a touchdown on seven carries while posting two tackles in a quarterfinal playoff game against New York (6/1). The following week at Tampa Bay (6/7) in Orlando’s semifinal loss, he posted a team-high 5.0 tackles and a sack while rushing for four yards and a score on three carries.
AFL 2002: Pettijohn made an immediate splash in the Arena Football League, finishing his rookie season with 42 carries for 84 yards and seven touchdowns, nine receptions for 122 yards and three scores and 23 tackles, a tackle for a loss, a sack and a pass defensed. Against Chicago (4/26), Pettijohn kicked off his indoor career with 13 yards on seven carries while totaling two tackles and a forced fumble on defense. He posted three tackles and three rushing yards and a touchdown the following week against New Jersey (5/4). At Grand Rapids (5/11), he posted two tackles and a pressure while rushing four times for three yards and two touchdowns. He registered 2.5 tackles and a 20-yard touchdown reception against San Jose (5/17) before recording 2.5 tackles, two catches for 13 yards and a team-high 13 rushing yards at Indiana (5/24). Against Carolina (5/31), Pettijohn earned Ironman of the Game honors after registering 2.5 stops, a sack and a forced fumble on defense and carrying the ball twice and providing key blocking on offense. He continued his strong rookie campaign against Tampa Bay (6/9) with two catches for 32 yards, a tackle, two pressures, seven rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. He carried the ball seven times for 12 yards and a score at New York (6/15) while adding a 16-yard touchdown reception and a tackle. He tallied two stops against Toronto (6/21) before scoring on a 10-yard reception at Carolina (6/28). At Tampa Bay (7/7), he earned Ironman of the Game honors after rushing seven times for 30 yards, catching one pass for 24 yards and posting four tackles. He led the Predators with nine rushing yards on two carries against Georgia (7/13) while contributing a seven-yard reception and a tackle. In the regular season finale at Dallas (7/20), Pettijohn totaled a tackle and a tackle for a loss. In Orlando’s first round playoff game against Buffalo (7/26), he registered two tackles, a pass defensed, a pressure and two carries for three yards. At New Jersey (8/3), in a quarterfinal playoff game, he rushed four times for eight yards and a touchdown while catching a 10-yard pass and contributing 1.5 stops and a pass deflection on defense. In the Predators semifinal loss at San Jose (8/10), Pettijohn recorded 4.5 tackles, a fumble recovery and a pass defensed.
OTHER PRO EXPEREIENCE: 2002 – Pettijohn signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad on Oct. 16 and – except for a one week period in November – remained there for the rest of the NFL season. 2001 – Pettijohn signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent but was released prior to the start of training camp.
COLLEGE: Pettijohn finished his career at Syracuse second on the Orangemen’s all-time sack list with 24.5. 2000 – Pettijohn finished out his collegiate career by posting 47 tackles, 14 tackles for losses, 12 pressures, 7.5 sacks, two passes defensed and a fumble recovery to earn second-team All-Big East honors at defensive end. 1999 – He earned All-Big East honors after totaling 45 tackles, including a team-high 13 behind the line of scrimmage, 10.5 sacks and nine pressures. 1998 – As a sophomore, Pettijohn made the switch from linebacker to defensive end and registered 39 stops, 6.5 sacks and six pressures. 1997 – He saw action in nine games as a reserve freshman linebacker, totaling six tackles.
PERSONAL: Maynard C. Pettijohn was an all-state, all-league, all-city, league MVP, team MVP and consensus Player of the Year as a senior linebacker for West Roxbury High School in Mattapan, MA. The child and family studies major was a four-year letterman in football and three-year letterman in basketball at West Roxbury.