Talib Wise holds the two Championship trophies from SWARCO's 2011 season.
During the SWARCO Raiders' historic 2011 season, Talib Wise was one of the stars on the team from Innsbruck. The versatile Chicago native played wide receiver, running back, was the team's main return man and even lined up as defensive back. Wise was a major factor during the team's double-championship season.
His masterpiece came in the season finale. After rushing for 129 yards on 20 carries, scoring three touchdowns and gaining a total of 309 all-purpose yards, he was named MVP of Austrian Bowl XXVII. The SWARCO Raiders are happy to have Wise back for a second stint in Tyrol.
On Saturday, March 24 (kickoff 6 a.m. PT/2 p.m. CET) the Tyroleans, sister team of The Oakland Raiders, open their 20th season on the road at the Kornmesser Rangers. Raiders.com talked to Wise about his decision to come back, his expectations for the new season and his knowledge of the German language.
Raiders.com: How is it to be back?
Talib Wise: It's great to be back. Coming off last year with the success we had and getting together again with the guys. We're starting fresh. I'm very excited to be back.
Raiders.com: Did you expect to be back?
Wise: Honestly no, because I had the aspiration to get back into the NFL. Those things are still in the works, but my next option was to be back with the SWARCO Raiders. They are the best organization in Europe.
Raiders.com: What did you do during the off-season?
Wise: I just trained hard. Actually I only took one week off since last season. The day I got back to Chicago after winning the two championships, I got signed by the Dallas Vigilantes. They asked me to help them reach the playoffs. I wasn't sure at first if I should do it, because my body was still sore from winning two championships. But I love playing football and saw this as a great opportunity to play some more games. So I signed. After the AFL season I just kept working out. I also had to deal with a lot of personal issues with my grandmother and my uncle. So I had to take care of that.
Raiders.com: With some veterans gone there will be new players pushed into the starting lineup. On the other hand, three imports are back, which is a good thing. With all that in mind, what are your expectations for the upcoming season?
Wise: Expectations are just like last year. We want to be the best team in Europe. We know that other teams have reloaded. We do have some younger guys. But this is part of the game. The young guys have to step up. Plus we have a good group of veteran players with the imports that came back and experienced guys like Florian Grein. We have to lead by example and the young guys have to follow.
Raiders.com: How much of a factor in your decision to come back was Shuan Fatah?
Wise: Coach Shu and me, we have a very special relationship. This will be my third season working with him and offensive coordinator Lee Rowland. I really respect their coaching abilities because of the way they prepare for every practice and every game. It is unmatched here in Europe and reminds me a lot of playing back in the United States. They put so much attention to every detail. And I believe that's the difference in Europe between winning and losing.
Raiders.com: You played two years in Germany and this will be your second year in Austria. How good is your knowledge of the German language?
Wise: (Laughing) It's getting better. Problem is I forget a lot of it when I get back home because I don't hear it over there. Nobody speaks German back home. I might take some classes this year. Coach Rush Bowers is a teacher and wants to help me learn the language. So at the end of the season I'll be able to speak a little bit.
Watch the SWARCO Raiders 2012 season live and as-live for free on www.raidersTV.at.