Terrell Owens, Ricky Williams Among Founding Owners of Freedom Football League

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2018

Former NFL football player Ricky Williams, who played for the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins among other teams, addresses an audience during a conference on medical marijuana at Harvard Medical School, Tuesday, April 11, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

Football fans craving pigskin in the spring will have their answer thanks to a number of former NFL players.

Former NFL running back Ricky Williams announced Thursday on ESPN's Outside the Lines that he is one of the founders of the Freedom Football League, per Field Yates of ESPN. Williams is joined by fellow founders Terrell Owens, Simeon Rice and Mike Alstott, among others.

The league will play during the spring as to avoid competing against the NFL and collegiate football in the fall.

According to ESPN.com, there will be 10 teams when the league starts—the San Diego Warriors, Oklahoma City Power, Portland Progress, Texas Revolution, Ohio Players, Florida Strong, Birmingham Kings, St. Louis Independence, Connecticut Underground and Oakland Panthers—with the chance for eventual expansion if it succeeds.

Williams said there are 50 former players already on board among the nearly 100 stakeholders.

"The purpose of this league ... is about community and the development of players," Williams said on Outside the Lines. "... In thinking about creating this league, I wanted to create a league that I could have stayed in and been comfortable and really thrived."

He also said the league will look to encourage its players to take stands on social and "hot-button" issues, which is notable considering Colin Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the NFL in October 2017.

Kaepernick has been unable to sign with a team since he made headlines for protesting racial inequality and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.

The inclusion of Owens and Williams, among the other players, lends the league a note of credibility.

Owens is a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest wide receivers in the history of the game, while Williams won a Heisman Trophy with the Texas Longhorns and reached the Pro Bowl at the NFL level.

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