SIOUX CITY, IOWA (KCAU)- The Sioux City Bandits went 9-2 last season and the team is aiming to replicate that success, with the Bandits bringing back many key veterans as well as making a big splash, bringing in a former NFL top-ten draft pick.

During the offseason, the Bandits announced the signing of Justin Gilbert. The Woodlands, Texas native and former Oklahoma State Cowboy was selected with the eighth overall pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft.

In two seasons with the Browns, he played 23 games and registered 39 tackles, eight pass deflections, and one interception he returned for a touchdown. But for Gilbert, the decision to come out of his retirement came from an old friend who happens to play for Sioux City.

“Brandon Sheperd, one of my old college teammates. He kind of lit the flame I guess you could say of bringing me out of ‘retirement’, so to say. I’m really just looking forward to seeing what I’ve got left in the tank and coming up there and having fun with it,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert spoke on how excited he was for the opportunity, emphasizing how he is ready to get back on the field and play the game he loves after being away from competitive football. Gilbert described what he felt when he first got the call to join Sioux City Bandits as he is ready to show Siouxland what he can bring to the team.

“It’s hard to explain the feeling because I’ve been away from the game for years, a number of years and playing against high-level competition. So, I’ve been just anxious ever since talking to them about it and talking to Coach Lo[bban]. Anxious, that’s all I’ve been right now. So, I’m just ready to get up there and see what I’ve got. That’s number one on my mind right now,” Gilbert added.