Former NFL coaches and players are looking to revive their careers in the Alliance of American Football.
The new AAF league debuted on Saturday and among the many unknown names participating, there were some former NFL players who are looking to revive careers that ended prematurely. Maybe even get another crack at the NFL.
There are also five former NFL head coaches on the same mission, trying to get back into the game. The Players in the AAF might not all be top-notch talent, but the coaches and coordinators are all legit.
Arizona Hotshots (Rick Neuheisel) Atlanta Legends (Kevin Coyle, with Michael Vick as offensive coordinator) Birmingham Iron (Tim Lewis), Memphis Express (Mike Singletary), Orlando Apollos (Steve Spurrier), Salt Lake Stallions (Dennis Erickson), San Antonio Commanders (Mike Riley), San Diego Fleet (Mike Martz).
Good to see former NFL DC Lewis finally get the head coaching job NFL owners never gave him. Singletary is one of the greatest linebackers in history and coached the San Francisco 49ers for a spell. Steve Spurrier and Dennis Erickson are legendary college coaches with National Championships. Mike Martz won a Super Bowl as OC of the greatest show on Turf in St. Louis with Kurt Warner in 1999.
— 17 Degree Sports (@1Degreesports) February 7, 2019
As far as the players go, the league is filled with ex-NFL guys.
Here are some notable names.
Trent Richardson (Birmingham Iron) was a star running back University of Alabama, a member of two BCS National Championship teams, finished third in the 2012 Heisman voting and was considered the top running back prospect for the 2012 NFL Draft.
After a promising rookie year with the Cleveland Browns when he rushed for 950 yards and 11 TDs and caught 51 passes, personal problems and bad breaks forced Richardson out of the league by 2016 and he’s now known as one of Cleveland’s many draft busts over the years.
Before returning to the scene of his college success with the AAF’s Birmingham Iron, Richardson played in the CFL for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2017.
In the season’s first game Richardson, 28, displayed some of the talents that once made him a Top 5 NFL pick
Richardson scored once.
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) February 10, 2019
Then he scored again to help seal a 26-0 win over the Memphis Express.
— Sideline Warning (@SWTheShow) February 11, 2019
WR Josh Huff (Arizona Hotshots) was a highly-touted third-round pick coming out of an explosive Oregon offense in 2014. He bounced around with the Eagles, Bucs and was on the Saints roster in 2018.
Quiet weekend for five former Bucs receivers now playing in AAF: Donteea Dye, Freddie Martino, Kaelin Clay, Kenny Bell, Josh Huff combined for two catches for 7 yards on 10 targets. Ervin Phillips, who was with Bucs this past preseason, had two for 14.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 11, 2019
QB Christian Hackenberg was drafted by the Jets out of Penn State in the second round in 2016. The Jets never had any faith in his abilities and he bounced around to the Oakland Raiders, Philly Eagles and Bengals in 2018.
He didn’t do much to help his NFL chances, going 10 for 23, 67 yards, INT in a blowout loss.
There’s the Christian Hackenberg we all know and love pic.twitter.com/gu7hw4TrgQ
— Barstool OSU (@BarstoolOSU) February 10, 2019
Denard Robinson was a big-time rushing QB in college at Michigan and then switched to running back when drafted by Jacksonville and showed some flashes from 2013-2016. Then he was out the league.
If there’s one thing Robinson can do, it’s run. As a sophomore QB at Michigan back in 2010, Robinson set the single-season Division I FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback and became the only player in (NCAA) history to both pass and rush for 1,500 yards. He didn’t kill it in his first AAF game, but the former game-breaker definitely has name recognition.
Who knows if the AAF will reach its goal of providing a viable alternative to the NFL experience during the offseason, but more football means more opportunity for coaches and players looking to breakthrough or return to the NFL.