Cohen, who entered the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 and recently was one of 50 players who received votes in the "20 Greatest Players in 20 Seasons of Arena League Football" poll, just finished his eighth season in the AFL. Kansas City, which moved its team and players from New Orleans last year after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, finished 3-13 on the season. While the VooDoo will return to the "Big Easy" next season, the Brigade will also continue to play in Kansas City in 2007 and players like Cohen will have a decision to make about where they will play next season.
B.J. Cohen, in his eighth year in the AFL, was named the KC Brigade "Lineman of the Year" at the end of the inaugural season in Kansas City. Cohen is MU's all-time sacks leader.
"It's a big honor, being voted by the fans and the media in our first year here in Kansas City," said Cohen from Missouri. "It was a tough year with the move and all, but I really got attatched to these fans and they showed their appreciation by voting for me." Cohen still feels he has more years to play and, for now, they will be in a Brigade uniform.
"Yeah, I'm looking for a house here, it really feels like home," said Cohen. "I hope I can play four or five more year of Arena Football here in Kansas City." About his only regret of being in KC was missing the reunion at the Marshall Green and White Game of the 1996, 15-0 Thundering Herd team. Cohen is hoping to get the DVD on that special weekend soon. He also wished MU Coach Mark Snyder and the Herd good luck for a great year this fall.
Cohen is the undisputed general of the Brigade and led the team with 3.5 sacks (of the team's 13 total), 4.5 tackles-for-loss and totaled 19.0 total tackles. Cohen also had two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. He was also the only Brigade player with a blocked kick, recording four. A true two-way player, Cohen caught three passes for 33 yards. Cohen now has 122 solo tackles and 59 assists (151.5 total tackles) in eight seasons in the AFL with Orlando (1999-2002), Tampa Bay (2003), New Orleans (2004-05) and Kansas City. He has recorded 30.5 sacks, broken-up 16 passes, forced eight fumbles, recovered six, blocked six kicks and recorded six interceptions for 58 yards and three touchdowns.
As a offensive player, Cohen has 45 catches for 514 yards and 11 touchdowns, and is believed to be the all-time leading tight end in receiving in AFL history, while rushing four times for six yards in his career. He was first team All-AFL in 2005 and second team All-AFL in 2003 and 2000. He has made the U.S. Army All-Ironman team three times, 2005, 2003 and 2000. He won titles with the Predators in Orlando in 2000 and with Tampa Bay Storm in 2003 and finished as runners-up to the Albany Firebirds with Orlando in 1999.
Cohen was one of two Marshall football players ever to be named First Team All-League for all four seasons, making first team All-Southern Conference in 1994-95-96 when the Herd was I-AA and first team All-Mid-American Conference in 1997 in the Thundering Herd's first season in Division I-A (John Zontini was the other, from 1931-34 in the West Virginia Athletic Conference and Buckeye Conference).
He was first team All-American on The Sports Network and the Walter Camp teams in 1996, making the second team that year on the Associated Press team and third team on the Football Gazette team. The Herd was 15-0 and national champions in 1996, winning every game by at least two touchdowns and Cohen had 113 tackles, seven tackles for loss and nine sacks. In 1995, the Herd was a national finalist in the I-AA Championship game and Cohen was second team All-American on the Football Gazette and The Sports Network teams as the Herd posted a 12-3 mark.
Cohen helped Marshall to one of two Southern Conference titles in 1994, when the Herd was 12-2 and lost in the semi-finals of the I-AA playoffs. His senior year of 1997 saw the Herd win the MAC in its first season and advance to the Motor City Bowl, Marshall's first bowl in a half-century. The Herd finished 10-3, losing on a late rally by Mississippi in the bowl, 34-31, on a late Rebel rally. But Cohen was named the Defensive MVP of the Game with six tackles, two assists, one sack and four tackles-for-loss to lead the Herd in the latter two categories.
Cohen also played briefly with the Oakland Raiders of the NFL in 1999 after spending 1998 with the Montreal Alouettes in 1998. He is the all-time Marshall leader in career sacks with 50 total, leading the Herd in sacks every season he played. He is 13th all-time at MU in tackles with 361 career stops.
Other award winners for the Brigade included:
Team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year—Jerel Myers
Defensive Player of the Year—Byron Douzart
Ironman of the Year—James Jordan
Rookie of the Year—Aaron Boone.