He is truly an original. His play between the white lines is “Melo” in name only. And only the name Brett Favre has been linked to the word retirement more frequently. He is also the standard by which all future Reading Express wide receivers will be measured. Carmelo Ocasio has re-signed for another season of football as the Express embark on a new excursion into the Indoor Football League.
Ocasio holds the distinction of being the first player to sign an Express contract prior to the original season of 2006. The Reading native and Indiana University of Pennsylvania product also holds the distinction of owning every receiving record in Express’ franchise history. Ocasio was limited to just eight games in 2010, but still finished with 54 receptions for 503 yards and 11 touchdowns. His career marks include 492 receptions, 5,726 receiving yards, and 138 receiving touchdowns.
A severe ankle injury in 2008 forced Ocasio to strongly consider retiring from the game. After achieving one of his main goals of bringing a championship to his hometown, he again contemplated retirement after the 2009 season. Instead he returned for what turned out to be a frustrating season in 2010.
“I will not have a season like I had last year,” said Ocasio. “I'm coming back and giving this team 100 percent in practice and games. Let’s go get this ring again.”
Reading Express Head Coach Chris Thompson was both pleased and surprised by the return of a weapon like Ocasio. “
Having a dedicated and determined Carmelo back for another season not only makes us a better football team, but will make all the other players on offense better as well,” said Thompson. “With his drive to succeed and knowledge of the game he will also serve as a great example for our younger receivers.”
Reading Express Indoor Professional Football began play in 2006 in the Sovereign Center in Reading, Pa. In five seasons, the team has amassed an overall record of 64-20 with four playoff appearances, two conference titles and the 2009 AIFA National Championship. In 2011, Reading will begin play as a new member of the Indoor Football League.
Story by Bob McCool