With games beginning in April, All American Football League holds 1st draft

8 02 2008


Canadian Press: LINK

ATLANTA – Bryan Randall and Eric Crouch still long to play professional football.

Though the two quarterbacks might not earn another NFL paycheque, Randall and Crouch are grateful that the All American Football League will debut in April.

Former college standouts Randall and Crouch were the second and third picks in the league’s inaugural draft on Saturday, with Randall going to Tennessee and Crouch going to Texas.

Randall, a former Virginia Tech standout who spent time on the Atlanta Falcons’ squad, went to training camp last year with the Pittsburgh Steelers but didn’t make the team.

“It’s a great opportunity for me, and I can’t wait to get back on the field and compete,” Randall said. “I guess I’ve learned that you never get football out of your blood, or at least I haven’t been able to, over the last few months.”

The league will fill the void created when the NFL shut down NFL Europe earlier this year after 16 seasons. The league was losing a reported US$30 million a season.

With teams in Detroit; Little Rock, Ark; Gainesville, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and a yet-to-be-determined city in Texas, the league hopes to build on fans’ identification with former collegiate stars.

Former Troy offensive lineman Zarah Yisrael was drafted No. 1 overall by Arkansas.

Florida picked Marshall quarterback Eric Kresser fourth overall, and another quarterback, David Koral of UCLA, went to Michigan in the No. 5 spot.

Alabama drafted centre Josh Sewell, formerly of Nebraska, with the sixth and final pick of the first round.

Crouch, who won the 2001 Heisman Trophy at Nebraska, is eager to show American fans that he can still play quarterback. Drafted No. 3 overall by the Texas team, Crouch was an NFL receiver for St. Louis and Green Bay.

Kansas City later designated him to NFL Europe, where he remained a wideout in 2006 for Hamburg. But not long after leaving Germany, Crouch was allowed to play quarterback again when he signed with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts.

“I love the game of football, but quarterback really is my passion,” Crouch said. “I can’t deny that I’d like to get another chance to play in the NFL, but the fact remains that I’m really excited to play this spring for Texas. I think the atmosphere will be great.”

League CEO Marcus Katz, who made a fortune after co-founding a company that provided student loans, first announced plans last year for a professional league that would lean heavily on the year-round craze of big-time college programs.

So when the All American debuted its colours, logos, helmets and mascots during the draft, it was no surprise that everything was nearly identical to those used by each state’s most popular college program…

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