On Monday, we learned former Redskins QB Doug Williams, the MVP of Super Bowl XXII will become the GM of the United Football League’s hot-off-the-presses approved team in Norfolk, Va.
Williams is only the latest former NFL star to turn up in the UFL. Last week, the rumors were hot and heavy that former Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell would show up in the league, though that hasn’t happened. You also might remember former Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper has joined the Sacramento Mountain Lions (working, by the way, with his old coach Dennis Green), while former Packers star RB Ahman Green – a four-time Pro Bowler – is continuing his career with the Omaha Nighthawks.
You’ll remember last year (or, probably, you don’t) that former Bills QB J.P. Losman, former Bengals RB DeDe Dorsey and former Giants coach Jim Fassel starred in the league. The league also is expanding. Last season, four teams played six times. This year, there’s a fifth team – the Nighthawks, coached by Jeff Jagodzinski (who’s had quite a ride himself these past few years ) – and in 2011, Norfolk will join.
If you have a minute, take a look at a UFL roster. You’ll see players who you’ll recognize from the NFL but players you probably haven’t thought about in a while. A guy like Tim Rattay or Eric Ghiaciuc or Chris Perry or Brooks Bollinger (last season’s league MVP). Plus, you’ll see plenty of all-conference college players who simply weren’t good enough to stick in the NFL.
Or you’ll find somebody like Culpepper – a three-time Pro Bowler who threw for more than 24,000 yards and 149 touchdowns in his 11-year NFL career.
This is what he said when he signed:
"My goal for this year was to get on the field and play football," Culpepper said in a statement released by the league. "When the opportunity came for me to sign with the UFL and play for coach Green in Sacramento, I could not resist. I am impressed with his approach to the game and to his players."
He must really want to play. After all, he could have been the Detroit Lions starting QB last year (if he had beaten out Matthew Stafford for the job). I wanted to get a current NFL player’s opinion on the NFL, so I asked Bengals FS Chris Crocker about it.
“Those guys obviously think they can still play football,” Crocker said. “It kind of depends on where they are in their career. Take Daunte. If you can make $200,000 or $300,000 and play eight games, that’s not a bad gig. But you won’t see guys like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning doing something like that, because it tarnishes your reputation.”
I’d say there’s very little chance Culpepper is making $300,000. In fact, I’d be shocked if that was the case. At the maximum, I’d guess he’s making $50,000. But if he thinks he can play well enough to earn another chance in the NFL, why not take the plunge?
All you have to think about is Kurt Warner, who went from obscurity in the AFL to a probable Pro Football Hall of Famer. It's not an impossible task. It's happened before, and Culpepper hopes it can happen again.
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