“Pro Football Returns to San Diego”
It’s surely not the NFL. Definitely not the Chargers.
But it is a roster full of players with dreams.
Here comes the Alliance for American Football and the San Diego Fleet.
They open their season next weekend in San Antonio.
Coaches with NFL and college heritage. Mike Martz, architect of the Greatest Show on turf, with the Rams, heads up the San Diego Fleet. Steve Spurrier is running a franchise. So is Mike Riley. As is Mike Singletary.
They have stocked their coaching staffs with name veteran coaches, with worlds of experience, all of them becoming teachers.
The rosters are really different. It’s not the old USFL, that had the likes of Herschel Walker or Marcus Dupree or Jim Kelly.
The NFL allows each team to have an off season roster of 90-players each. That’s more than 2880 players tied up by the NFL.
What’s left behind are the likes of QB-Mike Bercovicci, the ex Arizona State quarterback, who spent a couple of years in NFL camps, who starts for the Fleet..
It’s a landing spot for an ex-Aztecs tight end Gavin Escobar, who played for three years before injuries over took him., or an aspiring Kam Kelly or Eric Pickens, both former SDSU starts.
It’s going to be home to small college running back from places like Azuza Pacific, Slippery Rock and the likes.
It’s undersized defensive lineman, who are (5’10-295 pounds)….or linebackers and DBs from places like Appalachian State or Western Michigan.
The Fleet, like the other 7-AAF teams, are crash coursing players over a 4-week period to get them ready for this weekends openers on CBS.
You may ask, who are these guys? Not a lot of household names for sure, but more than anything, an opportunity.
Maybe they uncover a quarterback who winds up on a roster. In an NFL that has lots of small college skill guys receivers, kick returners, and cornerbacks, maybe some gems surface this spring from the AAF.
Maybe these players get their doors opened for them in the CFL, because coaches know coaches, and they can help place them.
1-thing for certain, people like Mike Martz, are mad-men when it comes to offense. Expect big point production, big passing plays, and wide open games.
Their first day of workouts, in the rain, featured big TD bombs to former Stanford star Francis Owusu, Kam Kelly, and an 80-yad bomb to Brian Brown from Richmond. That coupled with Aztecs tight end Gavin Escobar, and former SDSU star Kam Kelly, switched to wide receiver, leads you to believe they are going to throw the ball, move the ball, score points.
Their top running back Bishop Sankey, the ex Washington Huskies star, is out for at least s4-weeks with a knee injury. Who knows about his backups. And no one knows about the defense.
Remember history too of other upstart leagues. The USFL, for all its mistakes, delivered a ton of players to the NFL, led by Reggie White, and included the popular Chargers running back Gary Anderson, linebacker Gary Plummer and pass rusher Lee Williams.
And NFL Europe brought 8-quarterbacks to the NFL, led by the Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, and four others who wound up playing in Super Bowls, like Brad Johnson, Jake Delhomme and more..
So never say never about how good the league might be, or at least the individual talent that plays on Saturday and Sunday starting next weekend..
Only time will tell whether they will draw fans in San Diego. Only this weekend will tell us what kind of team they have put together in such a short offseason.
Pro football returns to the city, as we await to see how good it is, and who might become a star. They’ve got the right leaders. Now we see if they have the right players, and if the fans will follow.