New signees

From left, former Lobos Ivan Hernandnez and DonTrell Moore flank former NFL player Erasmus James as they watch recent dance tryouts at Cottonwood Mall. All three men are on the New Mexico Stars' roster and expected to play key roles with Rio Rancho's newest pro team in 2012.

Any day now, there could come some big news for Dallas Cowboys fans in the area that Terrell Owens may soon be making a visit here.

"T.O." is expected to sign with the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, says Dart Clark, owner and general manager of the New Mexico Stars, who will play their seven regular-season home games this season at Santa Ana Star Center.

The Wranglers, along with general manager and future Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor member Drew Pearson and Allen Wranglers owner Jon Frankel, formally extended a contract offer to Owens for reportedly $350,000.

"It would be great to have Terrell return to the Dallas area and showcase his talents for the Allen Wranglers," Frankel said after the tendering of the contract in November. "I'm sure Cowboys fans and all football fans in the area would love to T.O. back."

No doubt, so would the large contingent of Cowboys' fans in the metro area.

The Stars play host to the Wranglers on Sunday, March 11, at 3 p.m., in what could be a full house as Owens fans clamor to see the former star, who played 15 seasons in the NFL and is a six-time NFL Pro-Bowl selection. He scored 156 touchdowns, 36 of them from his days (2006-08) with the Dallas Cowboys.

Although no other IFL signing could have the same impact, other teams are signing some pretty illustrious players:

The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks kicked off the New Year by signing some big Division I names to their 2012 roster, namely defensive back Marvin Johnson, who played in the 2010 Rose Bowl and the 2011 BCS championship game for the University of Oregon, and kicker Chris Hazley from Virginia Tech, a first-team ACC member.

The Omaha Beef announced the signing of Michael Goggans, a former University of Auburn defensive end who helped the Tigers to the BCS National Championship in 2010. Goggans was a three-year starter for the War Eagles. During his senior year at Auburn, Goggans accumulated 22 tackles with 1.5 sacks in 14 games, along with one fumble forced and two QB hurries.

The Tri-Cities Fever re-signed their second-team All-IFL quarterback Houston Lillard, as well as QB Kasey Peters, a three-time NAIA All-American out of Rocky Mountain College in Montana. Peters amassed more than 10,000 passing yards in three years (2008-10).

The Stars, bolstering their lineup with a handful of former UNM and NMSU players, inked former Wisconsin defensive end Erasmus James, a former NFL first-round pick. After his senior season of 2004 with the Badgers (36 tackles and eight sacks), he was named as a first-team All-American, First-team All-Big Ten, the Big Ten Defense Lineman of the Year, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and received the Bill Willis Award given annually to the nation's top collegiate defensive lineman.

Also on the Stars' preliminary roster is former Cibola High standout Michael Carrasco (Class of 2005), who went on to play football at Eastern New Mexico University.

IFL balls: The Stars' final open tryouts for this season will be held Saturday at Rio Rancho Stadium. The fee is $50 in advance and $60 cash on the day of the tryouts. It starts at 8 a.m., and players will be tested combine-style.

... The 2012 IFL season kicks off on Feb. 19 when the Bloomington (Minn.) Edge visit the Chicago Slaughter. The Stars open one week later, when the Colorado Ice visit the Star Center for a 3 p.m. kickoff. The Stars' other home games are March 11 (vs. Allen Wranglers), April 6 (Tri-Cities Fever) and 14 (Colorado Ice), May 12 (Everett Raptors) and 26 (Wyoming Cavalry) and June 9 (Wichita Wild).

... The Stars will be in the IFL's Intense Conference, with the Wranglers, Colorado Ice, Everett Raptors, Nebraska Danger, Tri-Cities Fever, Wichita Wild and the Wyoming Cavalry. The United Conference is made up of the Edge, Slaughter, Cedar Rapids Titans, Green Bay Blizzard, Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, Omaha Beef, Reading Express and Sioux Falls Storm.

... Through 360 votes, "Starlettes" is leading the nominees for the name of the Stars' dance team. The Starlettes have 142 votes; they're followed in the voting by Galaxy Girls (115), Star Dancers (53) and Diamond Dancers (48).

... Season tickets for the seven-game home schedule, priced at $56, $105, $175 and $350, are available by calling 891-7318. Single-game tickets start at only $5, although $5 tickets are only available at the Star Center box office. Through late last week, 455 season tickets have been sold. For more information on the team, including the purchase of tickets, visit newmexicostarsfootball.com.

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