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Nearly four decades removed 1 week 4 days ago #42834

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Nearly four decades removed from a stint in the short-lived USFL Deshazor Everett Jersey , Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Polian will preside over the opening weekend of the newest spring league, the Alliance of American Football.“It’s one more challenge at the end of a long career,” said Polian, 76, who co-founded the AAF with Charlie Ebersol, a TV and film producer whose father, Dick, defined NBC Sports’ programming for more than two decades and created “Sunday Night Football.”Polian simply wasn’t ready for retirement after an NFL career in which he helped build Buffalo, Carolina and Indianapolis into Super Bowl teams, with the Colts winning the NFL championship after the 2006 season.This alternative league seems to stand a better chance of surviving than others, such as the USFL and the World League, because of the people and philosophies involved.“I’ve been pretty vocal about channeling the thoughts of so many of my friends in the NFL, in coaching and player personnel, that since the demise of NFL Europe, it’s needed a developmental league, where players can come in and learn and develop skills,” Polian said. “When Charlie approached me about this, we discussed it at great length and finally I said, ‘I’m going to put my effort where my mouth is and see where we can make this work.”Polian will catch half of the opening-weekend games in the eight-team league. He’ll be in San Antonio on Saturday night to watch the Commanders play the San Diego Fleet — broadcast by CBS in prime time — and in Tempe on Sunday night to see the Arizona Hotshots host the Salt Lake Stallions. The other opening-weekend games are the Atlanta Legends at the Orlando Apollos on Saturday night and the Memphis Express at the Birmingham Iron on Sunday night.Polian said the USFL took about 22 months to get up and running, and the expansion Carolina Panthers took about 19 months.“We’ve done this in nine months because of so many great former NFL people who are excited to do it, excited to be in it,” Polian said. “We started with nothing and we’re going to open it up on Saturday with eight teams playing what I think will be pretty good football.“That’s a credit to the people involved. We could not have done it if we had not had quality former NFL people.”The AAF is indeed stuffed with executives, general managers, coaches and players who’ve had various NFL experience.Hall of Fame linebacker and Super Bowl winner Mike Singletary is Memphis’ coach.Mike Martz, who was offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” Super Bowl-winning team in the 1999 season, returns to the sidelines as coach in San Diego, which two seasons ago lost the NFL’s Chargers to Los Angeles.Mike Vick is the offensive coordinator in Atlanta.Dennis Erickson is head coach in Salt Lake and will face off against Arizona’s Rick Neuheisel.The AAF even has the Head Ball Coach himself, Steve Spurrier Mason Foster Jersey , who is coaching the Apollos.Hall of Famer Willie Lanier is an executive in the league office, where former Pittsburgh Steelers stars Hines Ward (head of football operations) and Troy Polamalu (head of player relations) also work.Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino are officiating consultants. Pereira helped develop the unique rules that include no kickoffs, no extra-point tries, overtime rules that call for each team to get one possession and a ninth official, the SkyJudge, who from his perch in the press box can instantly correct “obvious and egregious” officiating errors, like the one that marred the NFC championship game.San Diego hired so well that it lost quarterback Josh Johnson to the Washington Redskins in December and offensive coordinator Jon Kitna to the Dallas Cowboys as their quarterbacks coach.Ebersol said the AAF players can leave for the NFL between April 29 and Dec. 29. He said the AAF released 71 players to the NFL and 35 came back and are playing. The AAF says that of its more than 600 players signed to date, 98 percent have been in the NFL at some point over the past 18 to 24 months.Polian and Ebersol said every NFL team had scouts in San Antonio when all the teams recently held training camp and then each played an exhibition game.“We’re not competitive, we’re complementary,” Ebersol said. “We look at the NFL as, we’re going to support your existence, let them play in your league, put content on your network. They’re a partner. The goal is to improve and support the ecosystem of football.”Games will be carried on CBS, NFL Network and Turner.Ebersol is backed by some heavyweight investors from Silicon Valley and also MGM, and has told them he has a five-to-seven-year business model.The Alliance has built a proprietary tech platform that will allow for a real-time, rewards-based system of integrated gaming and in-game wagering for fans in states where sports gambling is legalized.In a nice touch, Kurt Warner is the pregame and halftime analyst for Saturday night’s games on CBS. After being cut by Green Bay, Warner was working in an Iowa grocery store before playing in the Arena Football League and ultimately landing with the Rams, leading them to a Super Bowl victory and being voted NFL MVP in 1999.“Think about how many Kurt Warners are hiding among those kids who don’t get to the NFL,” Ebersol said. “Those are the guys we’re finding.”FOX Fantasy AutoForm a Racing Team, Compete for PrizesPlay Now! Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft prospects who could contribute to the Redskins"Renell Wren, DLSchool: Arizona State | Conference: PAC 12College Experience: RS Senior | Age: 23?Height / Weight: 6-4 / 318 lbsProjected Draft Status: 4th or 5th RoundNFL Comparison: Adolphus WashingtonCollege StatisticsPlayer OverviewRenell Wren was a 3-star prospect from St. Louis, Missouri who had little doubt in his mind where he wanted to play college football. Wren committed to Arizona State early in he recruiting process and never changed his mind. The defensive lineman has been one of the more underrated in this year’s draft due average production. When you watch him play though you’ll see a very disruptive player even if he doesn’t always finish. Wren has impressive physical traits and should have been more dominant in college. His explosion and strength is obvious but it looks like he hasn’t learned much in the way of technique from the Arizona State defensive line coaches. Wren has been spending his offseason preparing like every other NFL prospect but he has been trying to study his favorite players to help him get a hold of this technique thing. He spends his time watching tape on YouTube of Chris Jones and Fletcher Cox in hopes of getting a head start emulating their game. Wren knows what he has to work on now he’s hoping he goes to a good situation where he can show his true potential.StrengthsGreat size, length, strength, and explosion for the position.Explosive first step to break the lines. If he wins the timing battle there is little the center or guard can do to recover. Can win and collapse the pocket with pure strength and can throw the backfield into fits. Has a powerful punch and great arm extension which creates separation from OL and the opportunity to counter if he wanted to. Shows good mobility for a DL.Shows promise as a potential scheme versatile player. Solid tackler when he actually gets hands on the ball carrier.WeaknessesHas absolutely no vision or plan after the snap. Pass rush is lacking because he is too concerned with getting initial push and thats it. Doesn’t take advantage of his physical talent with technique work.I have no idea where he is looking. He is too caught up in his individual fight and getting stuck that plays can go right past him. Largely ineffective if he doesn’t win with his initial burst and power. Lunges and feet don’t match the work of the upper body so he can lost the leverage battle easy.Highly questionable instincts and natural feel for the position.Let’s see his work:More Renell Wren videosHow He Would Fit On The RedskinsWren is the definition of both ‘boom or bust’ and a ‘traits player’. He has never put it all together on the field and entering the NFL at his age there is a limited window to do so. Luckily the gamble on Wren won’t cost that much as he is projected to come off the board sometime on day 3. As I said a thousand times now if anyone can team technique its the Redskins defensive line coach. That said with how raw and ineffective Wren is aside from bull rushing the center I assume it will take him a couple seasons to really become an effective contributor in the rotation. With the resigning of Matt Ioannidis the Redskins have their starting DL set for a few years and now can focus on adding talent as depth to the line. Wren is certainly a project but the physical traits present are such that a roll of the dice could pay off in a big way. On day 3 of the draft when the Skins are looking to fill out depth on the team could someone in the War Room decide that Wren is worth the gamble?
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