AFL NOTES: Jason Shelley has proven over the past three seasons that he is a dependable, hard-working player that has made the adjustment to the indoor game. After five years of professional outdoor football, Shelley made the move to the indoor field in 2002 and has thrived on the game’s two-way play. His ability to quickly adapt to playing linebacker made him a valuable cog in the success the Desperados have had in their first two years of existence. He assumed the role as offensive specialist last season and continued to shine as he led the team in receptions (103) and receiving yards (1,304) while placing second in touchdown receptions (23). Shelley will provide leadership to the young Desperados receiving corps while teaming up with Will Pettis and Bobby Sippio to form one of the league’s strongest receiving corps. He originally signed with the Desperados on Nov. 26, 2001.
AFL 2004: Shelley’s 103 receptions and 1,304 receiving yards set new franchise records. He also set personal bests in receiving touchdowns (23), rushes (11), rushing yards (22), rushing touchdowns (five) and total touchdowns (28) while finishing seventh in the league in total yards from scrimmage (1,326). He opened the season against Carolina (2/8) setting then single-game career-highs with 10 receptions and 122 receiving yards while adding two touchdowns. He was named Baby Ruth Offensive Player of the Game against Philadelphia (2/15) after hauling in a team-leading six passes for 67 yards and three scores while rushing once for a four-yard touchdown and returning two kickoffs for 13 yards. At New York (2/22), he added six receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown, along with a two-yard rushing touchdown before catching a team-high seven passes for 67 yards and two scores at Columbus (2/29). Against Grand Rapids (3/6), he led the team in receptions (nine for 118 yards) for the fourth consecutive week while adding a career-high three touchdowns. Shelley led the team with six catches for 105 yards – including a 41-yarder – and two touchdowns at Carolina (3/14), establishing a new career-high for receiving yards in a season with 543 after just six games. Against Los Angeles (3/21), he finished second on the squad with six catches for 92 yards before adding six catches for 69 yards and a touchdown with one rush for a three-yard score at Philadelphia (4/4). Against San Jose (4/10), he hauled in six passes for 60 yards and two scores while carrying the ball a career-high three times for a career-high seven yards – including the game-winning touchdown from six yards out with 0:25 remaining in the game. He tied for second on the team with six catches for 83 yards and a 30-yard touchdown at Arizona (4/18), before catching a team-high four passes for 43 yards and rushing twice for one yard with a two-yard touchdown run at Orlando (4/25). Against New York (5/1), Shelley caught a career-high 11 passes for a career-high tying 122 yards, allowing him to become the third player in club history to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in a season. At Austin (5/9), he finished with three catches for 42 yards and a score, then tied for second on the team with five catches for 51 yards and a touchdown at Chicago (5/16). Against Columbus (5/22), he caught four passes for 74 yards, including a career long 45-yard touchdown grab. In the season finale against Tampa Bay (5/30), he caught a team-high eight passes for a career-high 125 yards and a career-high tying three touchdowns.
AFL 2003: With a year of indoor experience under his belt, Shelley avoided the sophomore jinx by topping his rookie season numbers. He finished his second season with 35 catches for 480 yards and eight touchdowns on offense – all career-best numbers – while totaling a career-high 13.0 tackles, four passes defensed and an interception as a linebacker on defense. He kicked off the season with a 26-yard reception and a tackle against New York (2/2). Two weeks later at Orlando (2/16), he finished third on the team with five catches for 61 yards – including a one-handed 16-yard grab on third-and-10 to keep a scoring drive alive – while also posting half a tackle and a pass deflection. He caught touchdown passes of 17 and five yards at Detroit (2/23), then totaled a 17-yard catch and a tackle at Arizona (3/2). Against Colorado (3/7), he recorded a single tackle, a 23-yard reception and his first career rushing attempt for a yard. He was named the Ironman of the Game at Carolina (3/21) after catching five passes for a career-high 82 yards and two touchdowns – including the game-winning score late in the fourth quarter – and registering a tackle and a pass defensed. He had a 17-yard catch and was part of a defensive effort that posted three sacks against Indiana (3/29). The following week against San Jose (4/6), he tied for second on the team with four catches for 57 yards while posting a tackle and an interception. He caught two passes for 12 yards at Indiana (4/13) before posting an 18-yard reception, a tackle and a key overtime pass deflection at Chicago (4/20). He totaled three stops and a pass defensed against Los Angeles (4/27) while catching two passes for 28 yards, including a 31-yard scoring catch-and-run where he broke several tackles en route to the end zone. Against Tampa Bay (5/4), he caught a season-high eight passes for 73 yards and two fourth quarter touchdowns. He tied for second on the team with three tackles at Georgia (5/10) while catching two passes for 44 yards, including a 34-yard scoring grab. He missed the regular season finale at Grand Rapids (5/18) with a left shoulder strain, but returned against Georgia (5/24) in a first round playoff game to catch five passes for 51 yards and post a tackle.
AFL 2002: Shelley finished his rookie season with 34 catches for 315 yards and five touchdowns while posting 11.5 tackles, five passes defensed, an interception and a forced fumble on defense. He was inactive for the season opener at Carolina (4/20), but made his AFL debut the next week at New Jersey (4/28), catching one pass for five yards while posting two stops on defense. Against Los Angeles (5/4), he tied for the team lead with five receptions for 52 yards while adding a tackle. He caught six passes for 45 yards and his first AFL touchdown at San Jose (5/25). Shelley posted two receptions for 43 yards at Los Angeles (6/1) then hauled in six passes for 65 yards and two scores while posting a tackle and a pass defensed against Indiana (6/8). At Arizona (6/16), he recorded two receptions for 13 yards and a tackle while hauling in four passes for 32 yards and breaking up two passes on defense. He was inactive against San Jose (6/29) but returned to action against Detroit (7/6) and caught a six-yard pass. He totaled seven receptions for 46 yards and two touchdowns at Chicago (7/13) before catching one pass for seven yards and registering his first career interception against Orlando (7/20). In his first AFL postseason appearance, Shelley registered two tackles, a pass defensed and an interception against Indiana (7/27). In the quarterfinal playoff loss at Chicago (8/5), Shelley caught five passes for 64 yards and a touchdown while posting 1.5 tackles on defense.
OTHER PRO EXPERIENCE: 2001 – Shelley played two games with the XFL Champion Los Angeles Xtreme before finishing the season on their practice squad. 2000 – Shelley returned to the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe and finished third on the team, sixth in the league, among receivers with eight touchdowns and 590 yards on 43 receptions. 1999 – Shelley was protected by the Admirals, released before the season and signed as a free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals. He was released during mini-camp and returned to the Admirals at midseason. He finished the NFLE season with 11 receptions for 159 yards and a touchdown. 1998 – Shelley led all NFLE receivers with 42 receptions, finished third with 559 yards and caught two scoring passes. 1997 – Shelley spent the spring with the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFLE and caught 18 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns. He returned to training camp with the Dallas Cowboys, where he was injured and then released. 1996 – Shelley signed as a rookie free agent with the Cowboys and caught a 60-yard touchdown pass during preseason action before being released.
COLLEGE: 1996 – As a senior, Shelley received All-America honors at Central State (Ohio) as he hauled in 58 passes for 991 yards (17.1 avg.) and 12 touchdowns while returning 10 punts for 105 yards and eight kickoffs for 191 yards. 1995 – He sat out his junior season in accordance with NCAA guidelines after transferring from the University of Washington. 1994 – In four games with the Huskies, Shelley tallied 17 receptions for 270 yards. 1993 – As a freshman, Shelley earned USA Today All-America honors as a reserve wide receiver, finishing the year with 20 catches for 382 yards (19.1) and two touchdowns. He hauled in a 64-yard pass for a touchdown in the Rose Bowl against Michigan.
PERSONAL: Shelley lettered as a receiver and defensive back at Vallejo, CA, High School. He caught 39 passes for 860 yards (22.1) and 13 touchdowns and totaled 100 tackles and four interceptions as a senior. He was a member of the Atlanta Braves minor league baseball system from 1992 through 1994. Jason and his wife Janine have a son and a daughter.