On July 7, Iowa Barnstormers fullback Rodney Filer announced the 2012 season would be his last in the AFL. After playing his college career with the Iowa Hawkeyes, Filer spent two seasons in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers before returning to Iowa with the Barnstormers in 1998. Over the next 13 seasons, Filer played for five different teams including the Barnstormers (1998-99), the New York Dragons (2001-04), Las Vegas Gladiators (2005-06), Tampa Bay Storm (2007), and Utah Blaze (2008). In 2010, he rejoined the Barnstormers for his final three seasons. Filer ended his career in July with 384 rushes for 1,252 yards and 70 touchdowns.
AFL Communications recently caught up with the fullback to check in on his life post-AFL.
EDITOR: Thank you for joining us today, Rodney! What have you been up to since the season ended.
RODNEY FILER: I’m soaking in retirement, but I’ve mostly just been working. I own a personal training business with my wife. My wife is a Pilates instructor and trainer and I do personal training – speed and agility, boxing, kickboxing…pretty much everything but yoga.
ED: When did you make the decision to retire?
RF: I knew coming into the season that it was going to be my last. I was thinking about it in 2011, but I wouldn’t have gone out the way I wanted to. When the 2012 season started to come around, I decided to give it one more go because I wanted to end on my terms. Obviously, we didn’t have a great year, but I had a lot of fun. I got to help out some younger guys learn the game and working with Coach Hohensee was great. Plus, record aside, it was probably one of my better years. I felt like this was a good team to exit with.
ED: What was that last game like?
RF: It was great! I came into the League playing with Aaron Garcia and to end it with him there – we played together six years, those last couple years in Iowa and then we both played in New York. It was pretty sweet to end it with somebody I started with, one of the other “old guys” in the League. We beat him too!
ED: What’s your favorite memory from your playing days?
RF: One of my fondest memories was my first touchdown. The first time I touched the ball, I took a fullback screen 25 yards to the house. But what I’ll remember most is the team. Just being with the guys and helping young guys eager to learn. I also love the structure of the Arena League because we’re right there with the fans. The fans can come up and say hi. I love that.
ED: How would you describe your time in the AFL?
RF: It was fun! If it wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t have played. The Arena League gave me a chance to show what kind of athlete I am. I was in the NFL for a period of time playing fullback, but wasn’t really given a chance to shine because of numbers. When I came to the AFL, I was able to show that I could play linebacker, tight end, defensive end – I could do whatever they needed me to do to help the team. It helped me show what kind of athlete I was. I wasn’t just a set in stone “that’s my fullback” – I was more than that. That’s what I’ll take away from the Arena Football League.
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