(Odell Thurman is finally getting a second chance.)
My previous three installments of the UFL team-by-team preview analyzed the coaches, their previous success, and their philosophies, while also touching base on some of the better known players filling out their rosters.
With the final team, the New York Sentinels, ready to hit B/R sometime this weekend, here's a look at the freshly added key players for the other three team's rosters.
Comment on the ones you know or have heard of, and let's get the UFL into the regular flow of sports conversation.
Some of these guys could still be role players, and possibly even stars in the NFL if given a second chance. Read on to see who fits the bill as "guys to watch for" when the season begins on October 8th.
For other good reads, head over to www.ufl-football.com and check out the news as it's coming in.
Las Vegas Locomotives
Marcel Shipp (RB)
Shipp signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2001 as an undrafted free agent out of UMass.
Despite never getting the full load all to himself, Shipp was still able to put together two consecutive seasons of at least 830 rushing yards.
Shipp saw his workload decrease once Arizona brought in Edgerrin James in 2006, and was slowly phased out of the Cardinals' plans.
At 31, Shipp probably doesn't have a future in the NFL as a starter, but with a solid season in the UFL, he can still show he has the tools to be an effective role player.
Samie Parker (WR)
Parker, the long-time Kansas City Chief, was a fourth round pick of the Chiefs back in 2004, and spent his entire career in Kansas City as a second and third option at receiver.
Parker was constantly a "sleeper" player in the league, and while he never lived up to his great potential, still found himself on the field enough to amass 110 receptions, for 1,529 yards, and seven touchdowns.
Always blessed with good speed and solid play-making ability, Parker is a strong candidate to start for Las Vegas, and could make an impact strong enough to get him noticed by NFL teams again.
Mike McMahon (QB)
Best known for his near-win and gritty performance against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day back in 2001, McMahon has also always been known as the athletic quarterback with an erratic arm.
While McMahon has always possessed the tools and athleticism to make an impact at the NFL level, he has never been a poster-boy for consistency, while also never having elite weapons around him.
At 30 years old, McMahon is entering the stretch of his career where he either has to prove he can play consistently at a high level, or he may see his window of opportunity close.
Peter Warrick (WR)
Once nicknamed "The Great One" (sorry, Wayne Gretzky) for his dazzling performances at Florida State, Warrick was the definition of a bust in the NFL.
After being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals and coined their offensive savior, Warrick was constantly shut down by opposing defenses, mostly due to a lack of a supporting cast, as well as a lack of size.
Injuries and inconsistency plagued his career, and Warrick left Cincinnati in 2005 without ever recording more than 900 yards receiving in a season.
He signed with the Seattle Seahawks that same season and played in the Super Bowl, mostly as a return specialist.
Warrick bounced around from Seattle to several semi-pro teams since, but failed to stick to a team or make a significant impact.
With a huge chip on his shoulder, Warrick is out to prove in 2009 that he still has the speed and athleticism to be a solid player at the pro level.
Odell Thurman (LB)
After a sensational rookie season in Cincinnati that saw him top 100 tackles and record five interceptions, Thurman was suspended by the NFL due to drug and alcohol problems.
Despite appealing the league in 2006 for reinstatement, further legal issues prompted the NFL to continue his suspension, causing him to miss the entire 2007 season.
Thurman was well into a comeback attempt in 2008 with the Bengals before being unexpectedly released prior to the season.
While initial reports had the reasoning being that Thurman had not "taken the proper steps" in getting his life back on track, Thurman and others stated that he was release d for not attending organized team activities, which by NFL rule, are not mandatory.
Regardless, Thurman was once again out of football, despite being fully able to play and still possessing elite talent.
Thurman is almost a lock to make and start for Florida if he stays on his best behavior, and a good showing in 2009 could lead to a second chance in the NFL.
Dexter Jackson (DB)
Jackson, a former member of the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is a Super Bowl MVP and veteran safety of the NFL.
A fourth round pick in the 1999 draft, Jackson is widely known for his sensational two-interception performance against the Oakland Raiders in Tampa Bay's only Super Bowl appearance, where he also became only the second defensive player to be named the game's MVP since 1973.
Jackson, 32, brings veteran leadership and great ball skills to a Florida team already oozing with talent on the defensive side.
There are plenty of other players on all three teams worth mentioning, although it's impossible to give them all the "air time" they deserve.
Be sure to stay updated with trips back to the UFL site, as well as monitoring the UFL buzz right here on B/R.
Stay tuned for the final team preview installment this weekend, as we take a look at the big names on the New York Sentinels.
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