BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The NFL season is officially one week away and Tuesday marked the final day for teams to bring their rosters down to the league-mandated 53-player limit.
It is typically one of the more somber days in professional sports as hundreds of players are now without jobs, including dozens of former USFL stars.
After the end of the USFL season in early July, 51 total players had managed to sign on with an NFL team. But on the final roster cut day, only one of those players managed to stick around on an active roster.
KaVontae Turpin, the reigning USFL MVP, kept his spot on the Dallas Cowboys after the final cuts this week. His performance in the preseason and training camp received high praise from his teammates and coaches, especially after the team’s win against the Los Angeles Chargers where Turpin took a kickoff and punt return for a touchdown.
It isn’t the end for those players cut as 13 of them have since signed on to NFL team’s practice squads in hopes of making the jump back onto the active roster. Former Birmingham Stallions Tae Hayes, DeMarquis Gates and USFL Championship Game MVP Victor Bolden Jr. have all been kept on in reserve roles with their respective NFL teams.
“We’re proud to help our players succeed at the highest professional level with a non-traditional route to NFL,” a statement from the USFL read. “But this also proves that the USFL is a stand-alone professional league – win for our players, win for USFL, win for NFL, and most of all, a win for football fans.”
There were bright spots for the players during the NFL preseason. Besides Turpin’s remarkable plays for Dallas, Hayes recorded a pick-six for the Carolina Panthers and Gates forced a fumble for the Chicago Bears.
The 10 other players who signed to practice teams are as follows:
- DT Dom Davis, Cincinnati Bengals
- LB Tegray Scales, Cincinnati Bengals
- DB Ike Brown, Las Vegas Raiders
- WR Isaiah Zuber, Las Vegas Raiders
- WR Maurice Alexander, Detroit Lions
- DE TJ Carter, Los Angeles Rames
- OT Alex Akingbulu, Washington Commanders
- DT Jeremiah Pharms Jr., New England Patriots
- DE Carlos Kemp, Los Angeles Chargers
- WR Darius Shepherd, Denver Broncos
The second season of the USFL will be taking place in April 2023. Details surrounding the season have yet to be released.