It really is a shame the Alliance of American Football won’t even make it through its first season. It’s a shame things were mismanaged to the point that they couldn’t even make it through one rotation.
Really, it’s just a huge shame for the players, who reportedly had to pay for their own plane trips home and away from the failed venture.
Because there’s enough talent out there for a developmental league, but perhaps without direct affiliation with the NFL, one will never survive. I was rooting for the AAF to succeed. You have to remember, every NFL team cuts its roster from 90 to 53 players before every season. That’s 1,184 talented football players without jobs. Sure, some go to practice squads, some go to Canada. But having a developmental league here in the United States was such an intriguing possibility. Maybe the XFL will have more success in its second go, but it’s hard to be optimistic.
I get the flaws. There aren’t enough good quarterbacks to fill NFL rosters and without top tier QB (and OL) play, the product suffers. If you were going to watch the AAF — or if you did — you needed to temper your expectations.
I just really feel for the players. This was supposed to be a chance at development for a lot of young guys. Think about how long it takes some players to grow. If Nelson Agholor or Brandon Graham weren’t first-round picks, would they have ever been given the chance to properly develop? And then there are guys who change position. Greg Ward Jr., a former college QB, is still learning the WR position. A guy like that, one who wants to make a massive change in positions, could really benefit from a chance to hone their craft. Now, those guys won’t get those chances, at least not in this league.
Maybe some NFL teams will sign a few of the standout players in this league, but for many of them, they’ll just be without jobs playing football. Several of those players include former Eagles.
Since the AAF’s one and only season is now abruptly over, here’s a final look at how former Eagles players fared:
WR Greg Ward Jr. (San Antonio Commanders): The former Houston QB caught 22 passes for 214 yards (9.7). I couldn’t find punt return stats, but he returned at least one for a TD.
WR Josh Huff (Arizona Hotshots): The former Eagles’ third-round pick caught 11 passes for 163 yards (14.8).
CB De’Vante Bausby (San Antonio Commanders): Last spring, Bausby was lining up as the Eagles’ starting nickel corner, then he didn’t make the team. In the AAF, he led the league with four INTs.
DL Winston Craig (San Antonio Commanders): The former training camp body had 2 1/2 sacks after a really quick start.
CB Ron Brooks (San Diego Fleet): Once the Eagles’ starting nickel corner, Brooks suffered a devastating injury in 2016 and hasn’t played in the NFL since. He had 13 tackles and one interception in the AAF.
DL Danny Ezechukwu (San Antonio Commanders): Ezechukwu, who was with the Eagles last training camp, had 14 solo tackles.
TE Anthony Denham (Salt Lake Stallions): He never played in a regular season game with the Eagles, but he was on the 53-man roster. He caught 18 passes for 179 yards (9.9) and a TD.
WR Freddie Martino (Arizona Hotshots): Martino, once a training camp standout and practice squader in Philly, caught 11 passes for 126 yards (11.5).
CB C.J. Smith (Salt Lake Stallions): Carson Wentz’s teammate at NDSU, Smith had 23 tackles and 1 INT.
CB Dexter McDougle (Arizona Hotshots): It’s hard to believe McDougle was basically a starter for a brief moment in 2018, but he struggled mightily. In the AAF, he had 13 tackles and an interception.
S Ed Reynolds (Atlanta Legends): A former fifth-round pick by the Eagles, Reynolds was fifth in the league in tackles with 35 and added a sack.
DB Jerome Couplin III: Once a fan favorite in Philly, Couplin had 27 tackles, all solo.
QB Aaron Murray (Atlanta Legends): Murray completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 1,048 yards with 3 touchdowns and 7 INTs. He was seventh in the league in passing yards.
QB Christian Hackenberg (Memphis Express): The career of Hackenberg is still in disarray. He completed just 51 percent of his passes for 283 yards, 0 TDs and 3 INTs.
LB Quentin Gause (Memphis Express): The linebacker from Buffalo had three tackles.
RB Terrell Watson (San Diego Fleet): Watson, who scored the final touchdown of the Eagles’ 2016 season, carried the ball 63 times for 271 yards (4.3) and 2 TDs.
WR Seantavius Jones (Atlanta Legends): He’s the most famous Seantavious in Eagles history, although he never played in a game and was with the team for just a couple months in the offseason. He caught 24 passes for 298 yards (12.4).
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