Five former Maryland football players will compete in the newly-formed Alliance of American Football league, and one former Terp will be a coach in the league that is set to fill the previously football-deprived NFL offseason.
Co-founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian announced the creation of the league back in March 2018, and the eight-team league will kick off at 8 p.m. ET Saturday. The teams consist of the Orlando Apollos, Atlanta Legends, San Antonio Commanders, San Diego Fleet, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Arizona Hotshots, and the Salt Lake Stallions.
Although there is no team in Maryland, four former Terps will be teammates on the Birmingham Iron. Former NFL kicker Nick Novak will be joined by running back Brandon Ross, wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo and offensive lineman Michael Dunn. Former NFL cornerback Dexter McDougle, who was drafted in the third-round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New York Jets, will join the preseason favorite Arizona Hotshots.
Former Maryland and NFL running back LaMont Jordan will be the running backs coach for the San Diego Fleet. Jordan played for the New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos and is currently Maryland football’s radio color commentator.
The AAF was created to be a stopping point between college and the NFL, or as a last chance for veteran players. Some of the rules are different, including no kickoffs or extra points, which means Novak will only have to kick field goals as part of his job. The other main difference is the contracts. Each player in the AAF is on a non-guaranteed three-year, $250,000 contract. The contracts are designed so that players cannot leave for the XFL, and there are bonuses for playing well and interacting with fans.
The regular season goes through April 14, concluding with a four-team playoff. The AAF Championship will take place in Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium on April 27. Two games on Saturday are scheduled to air on CBS and NFL Network. CBS Sports Network will air one AAF game every week of the 10-week regular season.