North Texas Daily

Column: North Texas players could benefit from the newly established Alliance of American Football

Column: North Texas players could benefit from the newly established Alliance of American Football

Column: North Texas players could benefit from the newly established Alliance of American Football
February 22
10:53 2019

Since its launch on Feb. 9, the Alliance of American Football, AAF has already shown massive potential for not just revenue, but players as well. The Alliance is an eight-franchise league, co-founded by Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian with the goal of competing with the National Football League.

The AAF could create a platform for local developing talent. This could be significantly beneficial for players coming out of North Texas who still dream of pursuing a career with pro football.

The smaller college conferences aren’t as competitive as the Power 5 schools, we all know this. There isn’t as much appeal for drafting a Sun Belt player when conferences like the Big 10 have a more competitive level of play.

The lack of competition diminishes the body of work players in smaller conferences put forth. Coaches such as former South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Singletary, have already stocked their franchises with players looking for fresh starts who did not succeed enough to maintain an NFL roster spot.

Former college standouts who couldn’t find a career in the NFL have already found their way to the AAF.

Running back Trent Richarson had a successful career at Alabama and was good enough to be drafted No. 3 overall to the Cleveland Browns. Richardson was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in his second season and has since joined the Birmingham Iron, an AAF team located in the same state he played in college.

Quarterback Luis Perez played at Texas A&M Commerce, where he led the Lions to the 2017 DII National Championship title, before going undrafted and signing onto the practice squad with the Los Angeles Rams. Perez now plays alongside Richardson with the Iron.

Where does that leave players at North Texas?  For example, senior quarterback Mason Fine, who is in his final year with the Mean Green, has yet to win a bowl game.

Let’s say Fine has a fantastic year, wins a bowl game and gets drafted in the sixth or seventh round. Great, so now he’s a bench warmer on an NFL team until he can prove otherwise. Anything lower than that would mean working with a practice squad as an undrafted free agent, despite his numbers and accolades.

This doesn’t just go for Fine either. This can also apply to players like former linebacker Ejodamen Ejiya and wide receiver Jalen Guyton. They both declared for the NFL this year but were not invited to the NFL scouting combine. With the collection of talent already in the Combine and the Draft, I don’t think they’d go far in the NFL, but I really hope I’m wrong.

However, if they could play in the AAF for a couple years and develop their skills, their dream in the NFL would become more plausible. Playing in the AAF would potentially pay more compared to sitting on a practice squad and their development and play would receive more attention from the national spotlight. All because they are actually playing, being coached and creating highlights.

If what I said earlier about North Texas players being on a practice squad makes them sound ungrateful, good.

These players didn’t work as hard as they did in college to just sit on a bench or a practice squad. If they have a dream of playing football and enhancing their abilities, the AAF can come in and ultimately change careers and lives altogether.

Featured Image by: North Texas junior Kelvin Smith runs the ball in a game against Southern Methodist University on Sept. 1 at Apogee Stadium. File.

About Author

Matt Suarez

Matt Suarez

Sports Editor

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