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Nearly four decades removed from a stint in the short-lived USFL Melvin Ingram Color Rush 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 Craig Mager Color Rush Jersey , 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, 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 Jason Verrett Color Rush Jersey , 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 Denzel Perryman Color Rush Jersey , 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.” Early Monday morning, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller released his latest three-round mock draft for all 32 teams. It’s definitely one of the more interesting mock drafts I’ve seen this off-season..."Early Monday morning, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller released his latest three-round mock draft for all 32 teams. It’s definitely one of the more interesting mock drafts I’ve seen this off-season for the Chargers, that’s for sure.Is it realistic? My gut says, “Absolutely not.” But who knows. Crazier things have happened. So without further ado, here’s what the good people over at Bleacher Report gave to the Bolts in rounds 1-3.Round 1 - Pick #28: WR AJ Brown, Ole MissSo right out the gate this pick is a head-scratcher. The Chargers just used a first round selection in 2017 on Mike Williams and drafted Dylan Cantrell in the sixth-round last year, on top of signing back Geremy Davis and Artavis Scott early in free agency. With major needs on either side of the trenches plus two of their three linebacker spots, this pick makes close to zero sense.Here is what Miller had to say about the selection:Brown’s 6-foot-0, 226-pound build is more reminiscent to a fullback than that of a wide receiver who finds most of his success out of the slot. He has some of the best intangibles in the class and those hands are something else. He absolutely snatches the ball out of the air and every time he does, I can’t help but imagine him saying “mine” under his breath.My Take: In the end, I really wouldn’t mind Brown getting the chance to catch balls from Philip Rivers, but there are just too many other glaring issues across the roster.Round 2 - Pick #60: CB Joejuan Williams Antonio Gates Color Rush Jersey , VanderbiltAgain, this is another pick at a position that just doesn’t fix any immediate need. If cornerback was the right call, Williams would actually fit the mold of the taller, lengthier cornerbacks that Gus Bradley likes to enlist in his defense.At 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, Williams might have you thinking, “That’s just too dang tall for a corner” and you might be right, but you can’t argue with production in the SEC. As a junior, Williams was named a Second-Team All-SEC selection after collecting 61 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, four interceptions, and 14 pass breakups.Across from Hayward, Williams would be an extremely intimidating presence as he can minimize throwing windows and give opposing quarterbacks a little something extra to think about before pulling the trigger.My Take: Still so many more needs to fill in the first few rounds. Williams would be really cool to see in Bradley’s defense but this just isn’t the year to take a cornerback this early when the team has stated on several occasions that they like the young, developmental guys on the team already, like Michael Davis and Brandon Facyson. Plus Trevor Williams still has the opportunity to rebound from a year in Lynn’s dog house.Round 3 - Pick #92: QB Tyree Jackson, BuffaloThis is pick is very interesting Derwin James Color Rush Jersey , given that Lynn has enjoyed working with developmental quarterbacks who have tremendous physical gifts and upside.At a true 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds, Jackson ran an alarming 4.59 forty at the combine this month. His mobility in the pocket is more than apparent but that’s not solely where he hangs his hat. With one of the largest arms in the draft, some comparing it to last year’s first round selection of the Buffalo Bills, Josh Allen, Jackson can bide time in the pocket before launching one into orbit to a receiver 65+ yards down the field.`However, the third round is far too rich for me, even with his physical gifts. If it were another round or two later, maybe.My Take: I just can’t get behind it, especially with the first two picks also going towards positions that aren’t in the top-3 of team needs.
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