Spring football continues to dominate headlines in a slightly subtle way. Whether it be player signings and releases, or the calls for Taylor Heinicke to take over for Carson Wentz. Alt-League Players continues to make their presence known for NFL. Between the FCF, XFL, USFL, The AAF and TSL alt-football players were on the forefront of the transaction wire in both Negative and positive ways.
The Spring League: Brian Lewerke was brought in by the Giants due to injuries to Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor. With Davis Webb considered the only “healthy” Quarterback on the roster/practice squad, the Giants brought in Lewerke and two other QBs to possibly fill the void at QB2 or QB3. Lewerke spent 2021 with the TSL Alphas and NY Giants on their Practice Squad.
Michael Bandy also made his 2022 debut in Week 4, of the NFL season. The TSL 2021 reception leader played in his 2nd career game recording his first career receptions for the Chargers. Bandy had two receptions for 49 yards. Bandy spent 2021 on the Chargers practice squad and was elevated for week 4 in 2022.
Fan Controlled Football: Travis Toivonen was released from the Vikings practice squad on Tuesday. Toivonen who has spent time with the Giants, and Seahawks in 2021. The former FCF Zapper was the first player to transition from the FCF to the NFL after he lit up the new age league, by leading the league with 19 receptions and 287 receiving yards. Toivonen has earned $113,900 over his two seasons in the NFL.
AAF: Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Bertolet both have signed NFL practice squad contracts with the Patriots and Chargers respectively. Gilbert who has been with 9 teams over 2 leagues joins the Patriots for the 3rd time due to Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer being out with injuries. Gilbert has thrown 75 passes has been considered the AAF MVP by many. Bertolet joins the Chargers and may actually make his NFL debut this week with Dustin Hopkins being limited due to injuries. Bertolet has been with 9 teams over 4 leagues since being an UDFA in 2016 out of Texas A&M.
XFL: Jon Toth was released from the practice squad of the Washington Commanders this week. Toth a former XFL DC Defenders Offensive Linemen appeared in six games over seven NFL seasons since being a UDFA in 2017. Toth started all five games in the XFL. Toth has earned $398,662.00 throughout his NFL career.
USFL: Tucker Paddington, and Bailey Gaither sign NFL contracts, while BJ Emmons signs a CFL contract. The USFL is now at 53 players signed to NFL with currently 19 currently on NFL payrolls. BJ Emmons the former Tampa Bay Bandits running back also transitions to the CFL after being cut by the Texans in 2022 NFL training camp. Victor Bolden and Tino Ellis of the Birmingham Stallions and Michigan Panthers also worked out for the Giants and Dolphins this week. Bolden and Ellis were both waived with injury settlements this year.
Maurice Alexander was activated by the Lions and returned 3 kicks for 62 yards for them in Week 4. It was Alexander’s first NFL game action of his career, and he became the third USFL player (KaVontae Turpin and Micah Abernathy) to play in an NFL game this year. Alexander played 11 total snaps in week 4 (9 on ST, 2 on Offense), and could have an increased role movng forward. All 3 players made their NFL debuts in 2022.
UFL: Bonus League! A United Football League alumnus Matt Overton who played for the Florida Tuskers (2009) and Omaha Nighthawks (2010-2011) was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad this week. Overton a pro-bowler with the Colts in 2013, has played in the UFL and IFL (Tri-cities Fever) and will be the primary Long Snapper for the Cowboys as Jake McQuaide is now on IR.
The above list is just a fraction of the number of Alt-League alumni, that continue to grace NFL fields each Sunday. With the XFL 3.0 season less than 150 days away I expect the list of Alt-league alumni movement to continue to grow. Regardless it’s always great to see these players continue to have movement in the NFL as it proves Alt-Football is relevant and works.
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