Houston Lillard workout for PDX Thunder
MILWAUKEE -- As Damian Lillard prepares for his challenge tonight in Milwaukee as the Portland Trail Blazers take on the Bucks, his mind wanders a bit on the challenges his older brother Houston Lillard faces in Portland.
Houston, a two-time Indoor Football League All-Second Team quarterback and MVP runner up in 2011-2012, has a private workout with the Portland Thunder today (which CSN will be at and have story and videos following the workout), the city’s brand new Arena Football team that begins play in March.
Lillard says he’s excited for the opportunity his brother has and believes he’ll make good.
“I know he’s going to do good,” Lillard said. “He brings that toughness. He’s even-keeled, poised and confident. Anytime you got a point guard, quarterback that’s confident and can lead, people gravitate towards that. He works hard, so I know he’s ready. When the opportunity is presented, you take advantage. And I’m sure he will.”
The Thunder are bringing in a total of 13 free agent prospects today and two of them are quarterbacks: Houston out of Southeast Missouri State and Luke Collis out of Occidental.
Houston has the indoor playing experience one needs to be successful in this league, but how difficult is the climb from the IFL to the AFL? The reigning Rookie Of the Year is certain that the jump won’t be an issue for his brother.
“I expect him to make the team,” he said emphatically. “I know he’s that good. He can throw. He can run. He’s a good athlete. He can play, man. I expect him to make the team.”
Say Houston does impress and makes the team, oh how that would be marketing gold.
“First of all, I think it would be great for the city,” Lillard said. “Because of my role on the basketball team, I think it would be great for the Thunder to have my brother on there. Beyond that, he’s good enough to be on that team and I’m sure of it. Regardless of how things work out, I’ve been around him my whole life. I know how good he is and that’s not because he’s my brother. I know he’s a good football player.”
Portland’s lone quarterback on its roster is currently former Oregon Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas, the favorite to be the opening night starter.
Lillard says a quarterback competition with Thomas is the last thing on his brother’s mind. He’s focused on today’s workout and Lillard, from a distance, is focused on it too.
“Thomas probably got the upper hand on my brother right now,” he said. “They singed him already. But that’s not what’s important, Houston is just trying to get an opportunity to get on a team and stick on a team. He’s not trying to outdo him, he’s trying to get his spot, work his way and see what becomes of it. I’m confident he’ll do well I can’t wait to hear how I went.”