NFL Discussing Loaning QBs, Other Players to AAF, Bill Polian Says

Megan ArmstrongContributor IIMarch 7, 2019

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 24: Bill Polian speaks with the press after the Alliance of American Football game between the Atlanta Legends and the Birmingham Iron at Georgia State Stadium on February 24, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Logan Riely/AAF/Getty Images)
Logan Riely/AAF/Getty Images

Bill Polian has been to the mountaintop in the NFL, and now the Pro Football Hall of Famer's encore act is to help players reach their highest potentials through the newly launched Alliance of American Football league.

Polian, the co-founder and head of football in AAF, disclosed that the NFL and AAF might be coming together for that cause in an official capacity. According to Kevin Allen of USA Today, Polian said on Wednesday that "talk is ramping up" surrounding the NFL loaning players to the AAF.

"Those discussions will continue but whether they bear fruit remains to be seen," Polian told Allen, while also noting that "lots of procedural hurdles" would have to be sorted out before the AAF could start acting as an official minor league affiliate to the NFL.

Allen described the idea behind the AAF and NFL's partnership to include NFL teams sending their No. 3 quarterbacks and "other players from the bottom half of their roster and developmental squads" to AAF franchises in order to maximize game reps.

Polian is not the only former NFL figure in a leadership position in the AAF, as Steve Spurrier, Mike Singletary, Rick Neuheisel, Dennis Erickson and Mike Martz serve as head coaches in the league.

"As a broadcaster for almost 20 years, and talking to [NFL] coaches, one of the things they have been frustrated with on this latest [collective bargaining agreement] is the reduction of meeting time and practice time," Daryl Johnston, general manager of the AAF's San Antonio Commanders, told Allen.

"They just don't think the guys are getting enough repetition."

Unofficially, the AAF is serving as a second chance for several former NFL players in its inaugural season. Perhaps the most recognizable name is running back Trent Richardson, who currently plays for the Birmingham Iron and was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

Other examples include quarterbacks Christian Hackenberg, Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray along with running back Zac Stacy, who spent two seasons with the then-St. Louis Rams before being forced into early retirement in 2017 following a broken ankle in 2015.

On Feb. 16, Stacy became the first 100-yard rusher in AAF history as the starting running back for the Memphis Express.

In theory, Stacy is laying down the first blueprint for what the AAF wants to do in correlation with the NFL in the future.

As of now, the AAF only sports eight franchises compared to the NFL's 32, which would hypothetically mean one AAF franchise would have to serve as an affiliate for four different NFL squads. As Polian said, there are plenty of kinks to still work out, but there could be countless Cinderella stories awaiting if the two sides are willing to negotiate.


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