Awesome! I hope they sell out.

Player's generosity benefits Marshals
Carpenter pledges $20K to host game

By Mike Dyer
Enquirer staff writer

Investing thousands of dollars to rent U.S. Bank Arena. Hanging up posters. Passing out fliers at Reds games.

Ron Carpenter has good reason this week to be on the public relations trail for the Cincinnati Marshals.

"We're hustling ...," Carpenter said.

Because of Carpenter, a Marshals co-captain, and Dr. Phil Dinn, the team doctor, the Marshals announced Monday they will host the National Indoor Football League's Atlantic Conference Championship game against the Rome (Ga.) Renegades Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Carpenter, 35, has pledged $20,000 and Dinn $5,000 to cover the costs of renting the arena and game-day operations along with player salaries and lodging expenses.

If not for Carpenter's effort, the Marshals (10-6) would've been playing at Rome (9-7) instead. As of Monday evening, the Rome Web site was promoting the game as if it was hosting.

"It's a very noble and great thing for the team and Cincinnati," running back Rayshawn Askew said.

Said quarterback Brett Dietz: "That's exactly like Ron. It's just how he is. He didn't have to play for the Marshals. Everyone looks up to him like a big brother."

The Marshals earned the berth by defeating host Fayetteville (N.C.) 70-69. The game should've been hosted by Cincinnati, but the league insisted on a road game because of the Marshals' unstable financial situation.

On the trip home Sunday, Carpenter said he figured out how many fans would be needed for him to break even on the investment.

Carpenter said he hadn't really thought ahead if he made money from Saturday's game.

"I'd be pleasantly surprised and super happy," Carpenter said. "... I'll just make sure the guys are taken care of and it's a pleasant experience."

The NIFL championship game is paid for by the host site. Odessa (Texas) and Tri-Cities (Wash.) play in the Pacific Conference championship game Saturday.

Carpenter, a cornerback, said the game is billed as the first professional football playoff game in Cincinnati since 1988.

A Miami University and Princeton High School graduate, Carpenter, 35, won a Super Bowl with the 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams.

"I've got a Super Bowl ring, an XFL title and high school state championship," Carpenter said. "Some guys have never been to a championship. I want them to experience the same thing I did."

Carpenter, a West Chester resident, also has an interest in becoming a part owner of an indoor franchise.

"If I did step up to an ownership role it would be thoroughly researched," Carpenter said. "I'm really more interested in becoming a coach and a general partner."

NIFL President Carolyn Shiver said her league is committed to keeping a team in town and if Carpenter decided to be a part of the ownership group, she would support it.

The gesture comes during a tumultuous season for Carpenter.

His wife, Sherri, died in April and the team has had her initials "SLC" stitched onto their jerseys. Carpenter decided to play in the next game after his wife's death.

"Obviously Ron is a great man," Askew said. "He really cares. This may be a dedication game to his wife."