LOS ANGELES -- Lonnie Ford, one of the premier fullback/linebackers in the Arena Football League, has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him with the Los Angeles Avengers through the 2006 season, head coach Ed Hodgkiss announced today.

“Lonnie is a local Southern California guy and is very important to this team,” said Hodgkiss, who has led the Avengers to the playoffs in each of his three years at the helm. “He has become one of the best fullback/linebackers in the league and a bit of a leader on our club. Lonnie is going into his third year with us and should be even more of an impact player at his position.”

Ford (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) led the Avengers with five rushing touchdowns last season and finished with 124 all-purpose yards (85 rushing and 39 receiving), 19.5 tackles (4.5 for losses), five batted down passes, two blocked kicks, 1.5 quarterback sacks and a fumble recovery.

At the University of Southern California, Ford played both offense and defense. He was selected as USC’s “Defensive Lineman of the Year” and to the All-Pacific-10 Conference second team in 2001, after making 40 tackles, including 14 for losses of 50 yards. Ford spent his first two seasons with the Trojans (1997-98) as a tight end.

He attended Morse High School (San Diego, Calif.). The San Diego Union-Tribune named Ford its “Male Athlete of the Year” in 1997.

The Avengers went 9-7 this past season and averaged 12,590 fans at each of their eight home games at STAPLES Center.

Fifty dollar deposits for 2005 Avenger season tickets are now being accepted at 1-888-AVENGERS or online at www.laavengers.com.