LATHAM, N.Y. — The Albany Empire announced the signing of Tommy Grady, the 2012 Arena Football League's Most Valuable Player. The signing comes 11 days before the season opener against the Philadelphia Soul at the Times Union Center on Sat. Apr 14 at 7pm.

Grady holds AFL records for passing touchdowns in a season (142), passing yards in a season (5,870), passing completions in a season (507), passing attempts in a season (743) and touchdown passes in a game (12). His presence bolsters an Empire offense that's still in search for its identity.

"This is a passing league and you can say having a quarterback is pivotal," said Empire co-owner and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski. "We've been targeting Tommy Grady for three weeks now."

Grady brings AFL experience and leadership to an expansion team that has yet to play one snap of an Arena season. Tuesday the team invited the media to their training facility at Afrim's in Latham to announce the new addition to the team.

"I'm very excited to be here and it's a good opportunity for me," said Grady. "The team looks awesome and we have a lot of great players around here."

"It's a big deal and we are excited," said Empire head coach Rob Keefe. "He has an unbelievable skillset that no one else can poses and when you see him on the field it's a no brainer why we brought him in here."

Grady joins a roster that is mostly ex-NFL players and guys that have been in other Arena League locker rooms. He's got 11 days to get caught up to speed, but the front office is grateful that this move was made.

"Tommy's been around awhile," said Jaworski. "He's a veteran that understands the game so I think he'll be ready in 11 days.