|Position:||Wide Receiver / Defensive Back|
|Date of birth:||December 11, 1977|
|Place of birth:||Hinesville, Georgia|
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||200 lb (91 kg)|
|High school:||Hinesville (GA) Bradwell Institute|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career Arena statistics|
|Player stats at ArenaFan.com|
Pettis is a four-time member of the AFL's All-Ironman team, a three-time member of the All-Arena team and was the 2007 Ironman of the Year.
Early life and college career
Pettis and attended the Bradwell Institute in Hinesville to finish his prep career. He then attended Middle Georgia Junior College. He was named to the GJCAA Region 17 All-District team after totaling 54 tackles for Middle Georgia. He also broke up three passes for a Middle Georgia defense that established a NJCAA record for fewest yards surrendered in a season. He was a starting cornerback for the Houston Cougars as a junior. Pettis transferred to Midwestern State University and finished his senior season with 42 tackles and three interceptions. He also finished second in the Lone Star Conference with a team-leading 14.6 yard punt return average, 146 yards on 10 returns.
In 2001, Pettis was out of football. In 2002, he joined the Pensacola Barracudas of af2 and finished the year second on the team with 55 receptions for 791 yards and 14 touchdowns. On defense, he led the team with nine interceptions for 47 yards, 34 pass breakups and eight missed field goal returns for 168 yards and a touchdown. He was third on the team with 36.5 tackles, including two for losses.
In 2003, Pettis made his Arena Football League debut with the Dallas Desperados and had one of the league’s best seasons by a rookie, earning All-Rookie and Second-Team All-Arena honors. He finished the season with a rookie club-record 1,562 all-purpose yards, 798 receiving, 640 on kickoff returns, 93 on missed field goal returns, 22 on interception returns and nine rushing, while finishing fourth on the team with 34.5 tackles.
At the end of the 2003 AFL season, the Dallas Cowboys signed him, but the NFL rules that applied to teams that owned AFL franchises, forced them to keep Dallas Desperados players on the waiver wire for 10 calendar days, giving other NFL teams an opportunity to claim their rights and discourage the set up of alternative farm systems. The New Orleans Saints claimed Pettis on the last possible day, but he was released midway through their training camp.
In 2004, Pettis finished the season second on the team in receptions with 95, third in receiving yards with 1,076 and touchdowns with 20.
In 2005, Pettis ended the season with several milestones. In addition to being named to the All-Ironman Team and All-Arena Team for the third time, he moved into second place in franchise history in touchdown catches (50), career receptions (253) and receiving yards (2,860). On defense, he set a personal best with 47.5 tackles and five interceptions. He recorded five games with over 200 all-purpose yards, giving him 12 for his career. He also moved into second place in franchise record books with 426 career points and 70 career touchdowns. After the season, he went to training camp with the Atlanta Falcons, but was released on the final cut-down date.
In 2006, Pettis was named to the All-Arena team for the third time in his career after he recorded 1,256 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns on 93 receptions. His totals for the season helped him to become the all-time leader in all franchise receiving categories and to surpass 9,000 career all-purpose yards. He added 40 tackles, 13 passes defensed and six interceptions, bringing his career total to 15, good for second in team history, on defense.
In 2007, Pettis earned Ironman of the Year honors, as well as earning his fourth-straight All-Ironman selection as he was named Ironman of the Game 15 times and was named Ironman of the Month for March and June. He ranked second in all-purpose yards (2,781), tied for second in kickoff returns for a touchdown (four), sixth in catches (130), eighth in kickoff return average (21.2) and 10th in receiving yards (1,471).
In 2008, Pettis recorded 95 receptions for 1,048 yards and 25 touchdowns. On defense, he recorded 21 tackloes, two interceptions and one touchown.
|Career Defensive Statistics|
|Career Statistics||Return Statistics|
Pettis lives with his wife, Akiah, and their children, Heaven Leigh, Gabriella, and William. Since the suspension of the Arena Football League's 2009 season, he opened a personal training business and began to help mentor young athletes. He also started a career in the tele-media industry.
Since starting his career in Dallas, Pettis has become a visible face in the Dallas-Fort Worth community. He is an annual supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas through the Desperados Impact Player Program. Several times a season, Pettis can be found playing basketball, video games or pool with at-risk youth served by the clubs across the Metroplex. Pettis has twice served as a celebrity guest coach at the Dallas Cowboys Let Us Play! Sports Camp for Girls - a three-day sports camp for inner-city girls served by charitable organizations like The Salvation Army, West Dallas Community Centers and Girls, Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas. During the holiday season, Pettis participates in The Salvation Army Angel Tree program, where he adopts ‘angels’ which represent underprivileged children and purchases gifts for them during the holidays. Pettis signed autographs at the American Cancer Society’s Smoke Out event.
- Eatman, Nick. "Desperados Could Provide Hidden NFL Gems". DallasDesperados.com. Dallas Desperados.
- "OFF THE NET...with Will Pettis". ArenaFootball.com. Arena Football League.
- Phillips, Rob (February 6, 2008). "Still A Triple Threat". DallasDesperados.com.
- Leon, Patty (July 13, 2009). "Pettis exploring life after the AFL". CoastalCourier.com. Coastal Courier. Retrieved July 14, 2009.