Alumnus Timel Benton has signed a contract with the Bay Area Panthers of the Indoor Football League (IFL). Benton, who graduated last month, is the first Gallaudet Bison to sign a professional football contract since Tony Tatum signed on with the Utah Blaze in the now-disbanded Arena Football League (AFL) in May 2013. Benton was a five-year letter-winner for the Bison (2016-2021), where he played in 37 games and completed 178 out of 387 passes for 2,948 yards and 27 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 443 times for 2,080 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was a three-time All-Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) honorable mention honoree (2017, 2019, and 2021) and a 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy semifinalist. Benton excelled in the classroom and was named to the ECFC Academic Honor Roll twice (2019 and 2020). During the 2021 season, Benton completed 30 of 60 passes for 600 yards and four touchdowns, and ran the ball 116 times for 729 yards and nine scores. Last month, Benton was named one of two Bison Student-Athlete of the Year honorees. The Panthers (1-11) have four more games left in their 2022 season. They play tomorrow evening against the San Diego Strike Force in San Diego, and on July 2 against the Vegas Knight Hawks in Henderson, Nevada. Their last two games of the season are at home at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. All home games are televised on KBCW, based in San Francisco. The Indoor Football League is the highest level of professional indoor football in the United States. The IFL is America’s longest continuously-running indoor football league and is the nation’s second-longest running professional football league after only the National Football League. The IFL was founded in 2009 and is in its 14th year. The Arena Football League (AFL) disbanded in 2019 after being in business for over 30 years. Congratulations and best wishes, Timel!