Wills Thanks Pioneers for Making Him Feel Welcome

It was a pretty easy decision to make.

Robert Wills, an All-NSIC defender for the Bemidji State Beavers, wanted to keep playing football after graduating from college. And he wanted to play for the Pioneers.

“A no-brainer for us,” said Jim Walsh, the Pioneers assistant head coach and defensive assistant.

But Wills, who had taken part in several combines, wanted to try his hand at tight end. He had played defensive end in college. Again, a no-brainer, said offensive coordinator Rob Neumann.  The Pioneers were willing to give it a shot.

In the end, Wills played both tight end and defensive end for the St. Paul Pioneers in their 2011 championship season. And he played well enough to get a look from the Green Bay Blizzard of the Indoor Football League. The Blizzard recently signed Wills to a professional contract.

For the Pioneers, Wills was a force as a designated pass-rusher on passing downs and a physical presence at tight end. Wills said the chance to play for the Pioneers was not only a lot of fun, but playing for St. Paul had a huge part in him getting a shot at pro football.

Contacted Tuesday, Wills had nothing but praise for the Pioneers, who have won three league championships in a row – including the 2009 NAFL National Championship.

”I would like to thank the Pioneers for letting me be a part of their organization and showing me what it takes to be a champion!,” Wills said Tuesday. “I am going to miss everyone from the pioneers, but I won’t forget them.”

He added: “What i really like about the Pioneers is that they treated me like family, as if I was a seasoned vet. And even though I’m not on the team anymore I feel like they would still help me out in any way they could. That’s how true of a TEAM they are!”

Wills, 6-4 and 265 pounds, impressed the Green Bay coaches with his attitude and hustle. He is expected to make major contributions to another championship team.  “Going to Green Bay is definitely exciting. The fact that I’ll be in a place that I’m not familiar with and people I don’t know is a big motivator to show people what I’m about and where I come from and who has coached me. I’m not just representing myself, but everybody who has helped me along the way to get to this level, all the way from high school to the semi-pro.”

“I’m just really excited to get back to football and to do my part to help bring a championship to green bay!”