Spinning the Quarterback Carousel, Indoor/Arena Football Edition

What do Jonathan Bane, Demry Croft, Charles McCullom, Geremy Hickbottom, Anthony Russo, Aaron Aiken, Nate Davis, Lorenz Stefan, Vincent Espinoza, Cameron Dukes, Donovan Porterie, D’Angelo Fulford, Vinny Testaverde Jr., Ed Crouch, and Damion May have in common?  Every single one of them has shown up in the transaction wire in the last three months. With unprecedented Quarterback movement in the 2023 indoor football season it has been nearly impossible to guess what the next big move will be.

Indoor Football has always been a volatile sport to say the least. However over the last two seasons the addition of the USFL and XFL has only further dramatized the indoor/arena football world. With nearly every week of football played, another quarterback is headed up to the outdoor leagues, or back down to the indoor leagues continuing their playing careers wherever the next opportunity comes from. This situation figures to only get more volatile as we have news that the Arena Football League will return once again in 2024, and the Major League of Football will try their best not to fail to get off the launchpad for a third time in just seven years leaving a wake of disgusted and disenfranchised players in their wake.

Call Ups to XFL, USFL, and CFL

First let’s discuss a few guys who have gotten the call up from indoor leagues recently: Vinny Testaverde Jr., Cameron Dukes, Geremy Hickbottom, and D’Angelo Fulford. Looking at these on a case by case basis there are some signs that sometimes it’s about who you know, and what you could potentially do in the future, not necessarily what you have already done on the field. 

Vinny Testaverde Jr.

Vinny Testaverde is a name every football fan should recognize. He was the top overall pick in the 1987 draft after an impressive college career with the U winning the Heisman in 1986 his senior season. 

His son’s career however hasn’t had the same arc. To say Testaverde led the life of a typical number one overall pick would be false but to say it’s been easier than his son’s battle would be an understatement. The older Vinny never played a down outside the NFL, the younger Vinny has barely tasted an NFL field. 

Not Following in his father’s footsteps at first he would head to Texas Tech for college. It was after that He then went to Miami where he played two seasons, furthering the Testaverde Legacy at the U. He would finish his collegiate career at the University of Albany. Ironically he once again followed his father’s footsteps to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019. He would follow that with a move to the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers ultimately he didn’t stick long.

He would then sign with the BC Lions of the CFL before the season was cancelled. After the cancellation he would join the Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers, where he spent the bulk of the last two seasons. 

Then came 2023…since this year began Testaverde has signed with three different teams for four stints. First he was signed by the National Arena League’s Albany Empire. Shortly there after he would Ink a deal with the CFL. The Edmonton Elks decided to bring him in for a look on there very deep quarterback depth chart. His stay was short-lived ultimately ending up released. This would lead him to return to Albany once again. Just after returning chaos struck Albany as Antonio Brown inserted his dominance over ownership firing two time NAL Champion head coach Tom Menas.

Just before things got worse Testaverde found an escape plan thanks to the NFL career his father led. From 2000-2003 his father threw passes to his current head coach as members of the New York Jets. Now Head Coach Anthony Becht did his old buddy a solid and threw his son a lifeline just as Brown forced many more members out of Albany. 

D’Angelo Fulford

Fulford was one of many who was put through the mess that is the Major League of Football. He would land with the Bay Area Panthers as their backup to Dalton Sneed a more established IFL QB. Fulford is a guy who was a big fish in a small pond in college which has seemingly worked against him in terms of his professional career. 

Playing four seasons for the University of Mount Union he managed to collect nearly 11,000 all purpose yards, scoring 154 times to just 11 interceptions. His completion rate never fell below 63%, and peaked at 72% as a senior. His senior season alone should have put him on the map. 183 of 253 for 3,118 yards 43 touchdowns to 2 interceptions, adding 94 carries for 360 yards and 4 touchdowns. The mind blowing fact about his college career is 43 touchdowns was 7 below his career high of 50 as a sophomore his first year as a starter. 

Fulford spent sometime with the BC Lions, Virginia Armada, Orlando Predators, and Bay Area Panthers since leaving college in 2020. If there’s one thing to take from Fulford’s career so far it’s that staying relevant and continuing to compile film is important. Fulford may have had a few setbacks but he continues to sign deals with teams whether indoor or outdoor in an effort to get the right opportunity. 

Finally weeks before the end of the XFL season he was signed by the Vegas Vipers after several weeks as a back up for the IFL’s Bay Area Panthers. This might be the chance he was looking for. He now in theory gets an opportunity to spend this offseason learning his playbook, and working to compete with the other quarterbacks on the roster. McClendon has shocked the world but has he solidified himself as THE guy for the Vipers? 

Geremy Hickbottom

Hickbottom might be a case of right player, right time. Despite the DC Defenders being 9-1 after this past weekend, and having clinched the top seed in the XFL’s strongest division, they decided to make a last second QB3 shuffle. Eric Dungey who has been with the team all year, was moved to the reserve list. 

Hickbottom who has a very similar build and athletic ability to Dungey was another player that had caught Coach Reggie Barlow’s eye during the showcase circuit. At 6’4 235 lbs he could very easily slide right into the roles that Dungey filled that kept him on the active roster most of the year. Blocking on field goals, and maybe even running down with kick off team or blocking on kickoff returns. 

Playing into his size, and potential for positional versatility is a big reason why we see Hickbottom signed by the Defenders. They had drafted their quarterback room in a manner that both of their backups had value at other positions Dungey as a tight end, and King as a wideout. Now Hickbottom will be the next player tasked with filling this role. The question is will he be willing to fill any role asked of him?

Cameron Dukes

In Toronto the Argonauts have built one of the most interesting quarterback rooms in the CFL currently. First they allowed veteran McLeod Bethel-Thompson to leave via free agency, next they re-signed Chad Kelly as the presumptive starter to an incentive laden deal. After that they would pick up Bryan Scott former USFL/TSL/XFL QB, and bring in Cameron Dukes. They also retained Ben Holmes another former IFL QB, who had a cup of coffee with the USFL.

Dukes is an interesting case study for the IFL. Having attended a smaller NAIA school in Kentucky, Dukes was somewhat of an unknown commodity coming out of college to the professional ranks.

Dukes would not only play well on the field, but collect accolades off the field. He was inducted into the NFF Student Athlete Hall of Fame in 2021 coming off a 3.89 gpa, and a season that saw him play in 11 games completing over 64% of his passes for 2,460 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He added 93 carries for 340 yards and 9 touchdowns.

By the time he graduated after five seasons, he had collected 10,439 yards passing, 1,316 yards rushing with 117 total touchdowns to just 21 interceptions, while completing 62.7% of his passes. Coming out of college in 2022 Dukes went undrafted in the NFL. This led Dukes to head to the IFL, under former Toronto Argonauts coach Mike Davis. Davis was hired as their defensive line coach in 2020 under new head coach Ryan Dinwiddie who is still the head coach to this day. 

This relationship surely helped get Dukes a tryout. What he did with it was up to him, and it appears he impressed earning a contract offer from Toronto fresh off of a 2022 Grey Cup victory. If Dukes doesn’t stick in the CFL he would likely be able to return to the Vegas Knighthawks where he played his rookie season.

Quarterbacks Coming To Indoor

Anthony Russo From XFL

One of the bigger names we heard about this offseason was Anthony Russo. Russo was briefly with the San Antonio Brahmas of the XFL in training camp but ended up released fairly early. Coming out of college Russo didn’t have the production most NFL teams want to see, he also didn’t start as a senior which hurt his chances. 

When he had started at Temple, he was a sub 60% passer who needed to work on accuracy and decision making to clean up a lot of mistakes. It wasn’t until his junior year when he only threw 135 passes that he completed 68% of his passes with 9 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. So far in two starts with the IFL he has done really well. Normally the transition to the indoor game can be tough and the first few games I expect to see a drop off in statistics compared to what they had in the outdoor game.

Russo has managed to essentially match his college statistics in terms of completion rate, but he has limited turnovers. Turnovers in college sunk him at times with 32 interceptions to just 44 touchdowns. He would catch the eye of XFL scouts at the Tropical Bowl on his way to the MVP award for the game. Russo who was working at a landscaping company following college had nearly lost hope for his professional career until the Brahmas came calling and gave him the hope he needed. 

Going from considering retiring to being signed will definitely rekindle your confidence. This has shown up with his time on the Pirates. After just two games, Russo is 7th in passing yards per game with 146.5 yards per game. He has passed for 293 yards, good for 13th. He is one of only two players in the top 15 in passing who have only played two games. The other is Jorge Reyna, an IFL veteran. More importantly Russo has 7 touchdowns to 1 interception. Russo also stands 13th in completion rate. I expect this number to slowly raise as he gets used to the speed of the game. Russo is only improving his stock so far showing he can avoid turnovers even on a field half the size. Russo made a smart choice signing with the Pirates, who have been notorious for sending players outdoors. 

DaQuan Neal Coming from USFL

Neal began his career in the IFL. He played in the league for multiple years before he was brought in this offseason by the USFL’s New Jersey Generals. However his stint with the Generals was cut short when the team drafted Adrian Martinez, and signed former CFL QB Dakota Prukop. 

This led Neal to be released. His former team the Tucson Sugar Skulls had moved on with another borderline outdoor quarterback in Ramone Atkins. This and the timing of Cameron Dukes signing with the CFL, led Neal to Las Vegas a team that may have just been launched last season but so far has produced a long line of outdoor players. Unfortunately he has been hampered by injury, but long term I expect him to get back on his MVP track and lead Vegas on a winning streak. 

Indoor Football Trade Sends Shockwaves Through the League

On April 20th, the Duke City Gladiators and San Diego Strike Force struck a trade that saw four players and three quarterbacks change hands. With long time veterans Nate Davis, Aaron Aiken, and the younger Demry Croft changing teams. This move caused a whole trickle down effect as well. With San Diego now looking for a backup quarterback, and Duke City potentially looking to trade one of their quarterbacks for further assets.

I’m curious if Andre Sale was discussed in the trade process. As of right now Sale is on short term injured reserve which could buy the Gladiators some time to make a decision..that is if a proven veteran that they happen to like doesn’t come available.

San Diego didn’t have to look for long, as they brought in another quarterback via trade: Devond Blair listed as a QB/WR, Blair played wideout in college, and so far this year is 0 for 3 passing. He will likely be relegated primarily to wide receiver, when/if Nate Davis reports.

Defense Wins Championships, and Quarterback Competitions? 

San Diego didn’t stop at the addition of Davis, or Blair. Instead they signed Rudy Johnson. Listed as a quarterback/defensive back, Johnson would end up with the start over Blair. Johnson would lead the Strike Force to victory on a solid performance 20 of 37 for 218 yards, 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, adding 7 carries for 26 yards with Edward Vander only entering the game-plan to vulture touchdowns. 

I’m curious why Davis didn’t play this week. Hopefully he isn’t refusing to report following the trade. Davis is a New Mexico resident so it may have required a bit more time for him to find living arrangements in San Diego. 

Recent Releases At Every Level

In the National Arena League we saw Charles McCollum released by the Carolina Cobras. The man who began his career way back in 2010, has been involved with indoor football for over 13 years at this point. My immediate reaction was, maybe he is headed for retirement. Then I began to hear whispers that multiple teams were considering him as an option, including CIF, NAL, and IFL teams. Word is he is headed to Duke City to be their QB1A in what I expect to be a 2 quarterback system still.

This begs the question with four quarterbacks now on their roster what does Duke City do with their depth? Can you really afford to carry three of these guys? Aaron Aiken can play wide receiver after all, but would he want to stick around for that? Keep in mind both Croft and Aiken are more than capable backups behind McCollum…could we be in for yet another quarterback trade? 

Lorenz Stefan

Lorenz Stefan found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place in Topeka. Before he left the organization, there weren’t the cracks in the concrete of their foundation that there appear to be now. Perhaps Lorenz wasn’t just the quarterback but part of the glue holding together a cracked foundation beneath the surface. 

As soon as he left chaos erupted, and the league stepped in to correct the issues. One issue that HAS NOT been addressed is the fact that Lorenz was designated refuse to report. Which is a false designation designed to keep him off the field and handicap an opponent. Well Topeka’s desperate attempt to avoid playing Lorenz looks to have backfired. He has signed with the Billings Outlaws for the remainder of the CIF season, and looks to perhaps latch on with an NAL or IFL team as a starter after the CIF season concludes. 

In the meantime I’m sure Stefan has already circled the May 6th match up with the Topeka Tropics who hung him out to dry and expected the problem to go away. Ironically if he serves his two game suspension for his refusal to report, he would return for the Tropics game. Poetic justice at its finest. 

Vincent Espinoza 

Espinoza the previous quarterback for the Billings Outlaws was released as a scape goat of sorts for an offense that sputtered at times. It didn’t help his case when Jamario Benson came in as the QB and nearly helped defeat Salina. Ironically, you don’t normally see players get released from a CIF team, only to sign with an IFL team. 

The IFL is regarded as a step above the CIF due to how the league is run and seen. Especially with the recent announcement of a television broadcast deal. Espinoza however broke that barrier. Signing with an IFL team before he was even announced as released by the Outlaws. The Tulsa Oilers appeared poised to continue throwing darts until someone stuck having started and later released Gio Sanders, and Bobby Froelich.

Damion May

Damion May is a versatile player not unlike Espinoza’s backup in Billings, Jamario Benson. May is listed as a wide receiver/quarterback but when asking head coach Marvin Jones who will be his quarterback he replied “Both” because the truth is at this point Jones just needs some form of consistency and competent play from the quarterback position. Even if it means a two quarterback system similar to how San Diego rotated Aaron Aiken and Demry Croft. 

May is an exceptional athlete who during his college career was often more effective as a runner than a passer due to interception woes. In 2021 he signed with the Green Bay Blizzard as a rookie. Playing in 8 games it looked like he had corrected any issues he once had with decision making. May would throw 16 touchdowns to just 1 interception. Completing 54 of 88 passes, running 38 times for 122 yards and 4 touchdowns all on a field half the size.

In 2022 he signed with the National Arena League’s Jacksonville Sharks. Helping lead them to a playoff berth. This offseason he originally signed with the Omaha Beef but, they too cycled quarterbacks adding Jovante Seard, Jerod Evans, and later Tommy Armstrong. After signing with the Beef he ended up in the IFL once again. 

This time with the Quad City Steamwheelers, who appeared in the championship in 2022. Having traded Aaron Aiken, they wanted a younger back up and liked what they saw from May in 2021, as well as his versatility. This also gave him a chance to learn a bit behind Ej Hilliard. He threw just 1 pass a 7 yard completion while running 3 times for 13 yards, not seeing time at wide receiver. 

Tulsa who has already started, and released Gio Sanders, and Bobby Froehlich has been one of the fastest teams to pull the plug on bad quarterback play. This is likely due to their first choice James Summers refusing to report.  This left them signing Gio just days before the season began. After Gio was let go, Joshua Shim former X-League quarterback. Hailing from the Japanese league, Shim didn’t last long released just days later when May was acquired. 

After Tulsa won its first game in franchise history on Saturday they may have found their man in Vincent Espinoza who went 14 of 22 for 126 yards 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. While he ran 6 times in this game, his 17 yards don’t display the high level athlete he is. Could Espinoza bring stability to Tulsa at the quarterback position and start making a midseason playoff push? 

Southwest Kansas Storm 

I had to do a whole section for the Storm because of how many quarterbacks they have signed, and released since the offseason began. Some have been injury related, but most have been performance related. The vicious cycle started when Tahj Tolbert was signed by the Storm to be their quarterback for the 2023 season. He had just won an IFL Championship as the backup to Kaleb Barker. 

The theory was he could bring a winning mentality, however this simply didn’t pan out for SWK or Tahj. Tahj played poorly in the beginning of the season and wound up released, later landing in Rapid City, who had cut Tyrone Jones. What a rabbit hole this has become right, and we are just getting started.

After two weeks of The Tolbert Experience (future band name), the Storm moved on. The first batter up to the plate? Sean Kelly from Missouri Southern State, followed by Adam Lunderman from Butler Community College. Lunderman was given one practice to prove himself before being released, replaced by former FCF quarterback Delvin Isidore. 

Isidore and Kelly split snaps the following game, with Isidore going 4 of 9 for 75 yards and 1 touchdown adding 7 carries for -5 yards and 1 touchdown. Kelly was 1 of 1 for 27 yards, and 3 carries for 3 yards. They appeared ready to stick with Isidore as he entered the next game and played every snap going 14 of 21 for 161 yards, 4 touchdowns to 2 interceptions, with 3 rushing yards. 

In his third week with the team Isidore was 3 of 6 for 27 yards with 2 carries for 22 yards before his injury. After that wide receiver Torrance Carr entered the game, he went 4 of 8 for 44 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 8 carries for 39 yards and 2 touchdowns, adding 1 reception for 7 yards. The injury to Isidore meant Kelly was back. He would promptly put up the best performance of any quarterback they had started: 16 of 22 for 155 yards, 5 touchdowns, 1 interception defeating the Rapid City Marshals and Tahj Tolbert. 

This did not stop the quarterback changes for SWK. At one point they chased former USFL QB Chase Fourcade. Fourcade played in the National Arena League in 2021. However the deal never panned out. After a couple weeks of waiting to find out the prognosis on Isidore’s injury SWK was forced to put him on long term injured reserve ending his CIF season. 

On the 16th of April the Mustangs released their backup QB Josh Hollins. Hollins is s highly athletic player and was listed as a wide receiver for Gillette. So far this season he was 7 of 11 for 88 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 12 carries, 78 yards and 1 touchdown and 1 2 point conversion. Hollins immediately was signed by Southwest Kansas. That same day Sean Kelly was placed on long term injured reserve. The hits just kept coming. 

Vern Sharp, and Devin White were signed to make sure they had depth. Given how they have been losing quarterbacks, carrying three isn’t a bad idea. The question is who are these guys? 

Vern Sharp looks to be a semi-professional quarterback from Texas. He graduated college in 2019, joining the Dallas Vikings right away. Following his time with the Vikings he would miss the 2020 season due to Covid shutting down most leagues. In 2021 he worked with Assist Athletics to help train kids. After a year of that he jumped back into football with the Premier Amatuer Football Association. Now he will receive a paycheck for playing football. It remains to be seen if he’s a fit for the CIF, and if he can rise to the competition.

Devin White is a guy who left college after the 2015 season. Playing for two different schools in Oklahoma during college, he didn’t see the field often. However the 6’1 185 pound quarterback ran a 4.42 40 yard dash and his athleticism has attracted teams. Attending camp with the Tulsa Oilers this past offseason.

Update: SWK has decided to stick with just one quarterback on the roster in Josh Hollins. Devin White was told his services were no longer desired, and Vern Sharp refused to report. Hollins is a capable quarterback, and Torrance Carr is still there should they need someone to step in during an injury.

Nick Eilers 

Eilers has already been employed by three different teams this season. Originally signed by the Rapid City Marshals, Eilers would jump to the IFL as the emergency backup for the Iowa Barnstormers after starter Darius James Peterson went down for the year. Eilers was used in that capacity for one week then returned to the CIF, this time with Salina. Salina needed a backup quarterback after Jerod Evans refused to report. Our own Justin Kelm was on to the news Jerod Evans was headed overseas to continue playing. It was reported this morning that Evans signed with the Enthroners.

This left Ja’Vonte Johnson as the top quarterback available. Johnson led the Tri City Rush to an undefeated 2022 season and Championship victory. Afterward the Liberty stocked up on Rush players with Johnson one of the first to sign. Johnson would split time with Evans all season long before Evans moved on. Johnson was given the start the next two weeks taking a beating from opposing defenses. Now he has been released. Southwest Kansas did you hear that?? 

Salina has opted instead to bring in Ed Crouch. Crouch is likely best known for his time in Fan Controlled Football. He was previously signed by the National Arena League as an emergency option himself, but wasn’t needed. This left him available for the Liberty to bring in. The question is will he actually show up? If Crouch does report we could see Salina improve at the quarterback position. Crouch was one of the league leaders in season 2.0 completing 39 of 69 passing attempts for 673 yards good for second in the league. 

Throwing 13 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions, he was third in touchdowns, but ended up on the lower end in interceptions. This was Crouch’s second season of dominating the FCF. In Season 1.0 he helped lead the Wild Aces to a championship victory and won the game MVP. It will be very interesting to see what he can do in the CIF. Crouch has always been a dual threat, but if a team can clean up his accuracy, Crouch could be a guy we see outdoors within a year or two. Maybe he’s the next quarterback to be signed by the Orlando Guardians who have already employed three former FCF quarterbacks in Mitch Kidd, Deondre Francois, and Quinten Flowers. 

Replacing Josh Hollins in Gillette

The Mustangs signed Jake Johnson from Adams State. Jake is a guy from my own backyard having played his high school football in Longmont, Colorado. He later attended CSU-Pueblo to begin college. Ironically he played more as a runner than he did a passer. At 6’2 215 lbs, he threw just 2 passes, while running the ball 62 times for 356 yards and 3 touchdowns or 59.3 yards per game. He also caught 5 passes for 61 yards and 1 touchdown. 

He finished his career with Adams State playing free safety as well as quarterback. His first step in his post college playing career was to sign with the Czech Republic Lions for 2012 before returning to the US in 2013. Next he signed to play semi pro with the Wyoming Calvary. After just one season with the Calvary he was signed by the Colorado Ice. Finally last season he signed with the Rapid City Marshals. I’m not sure what led to Hollins’ departure but Johnson is a similarly versatile player who is a veteran at this point in his career. I’m curious to see his role with the team. 

Topeka Tropics 

As I mentioned earlier, Topeka released their starting quarterback who had been taken out at times for former GFL/FAM quarterback Dylan Van Boxel. Despite Van Boxel also seeing time Stefan led the league in yards and touchdowns without much of a running game, or the faith of his coaches. After they decided to move on from Stefan, they signed Donovan Porterie. 

Porterie is a veteran of indoor football, and specifically the CIF. He was originally signed by the Sioux City Bandits way back in 2010. He played for future CIF team owner Ricky Bertz in Alaska in 2011. The next two years he would play for the Green Bay Blizzard. Before moving on to the Spokane Shock of the AFL. 

Porterie would return to Green Bay in 2015, winning second team All IFL. In 2016 he would play for the Iowa Barnstormers, before jumping back to the CIF with the Duke City Gladiators where he won league MVP, while being named to the All CIF team. In 2018 he would play the final season of existence for the Kansas City Phantoms. Since then he has spent time overseas, and ends up right back in Kansas for the 2023 season. So far he has played well completing 35 of 54 attempts for 311 yards 5 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions. Adding 3 carries for ten yards and 1 touchdown. 

During their game against Sioux City they needed all three quarterbacks…checks notes…wait a minute..Max Novak the leading receiver in the league plays double duty entering the game at Quarterback. This ironically isn’t his first time doing so. In 2022 he spent time at QB for the Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks before Lorenz was signed there. Novak wound up attempting 11 passes completing 3 for 18 yards, while collecting 6 carries for 18 yards and 1 touchdown, 3 receptions for 27 yards and 1 touchdown. Talk about a marathon man, on the day Topeka produced 233 yards on the day with Novak accounting for 56.

Dylan Van Boxel also entered the game completing 7 of 12 passes for a team leading 77 yards. Throwing 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, adding 5 carries for 27 yards. Van Boxel is still adapting to indoor football but in my humble opinion with each week he seems to play better and better. 

Kaleb Lowe 

Lowe spent time serving as an offensive coordinator for a 7v7 team after college. Staying close to the game he loves and attempting to force his way back in. Formerly of the University of Dubuque, Lowe ironically didn’t end up with Sioux City. Lowe signed with Rapid City, and I for one am curious to see his role with the team going forward. Earlier this offseason he was briefly with the Tucson Sugar Skulls as the backup to Ramone Atkins.

Justin Arth

Originally signed by the Gillette Mustangs of the CIF, Arth was made to compete against Mike Pina for the starting job in training camp. Pina who had played outdoor football the year before in France is the more mobile of the two and the Mustangs had designs on using a run heavy offense focused on the read option, and rpo game. Arth is fully capable of running these schemes but isn’t quite the athlete Pina is. Then again Pina stands a couple inches shorter, and 15 pounds lighter to be fair.

Pina has diced up defenses indoors while Arth attempted to make the elusive leap outdoors attending the HUB camp, and several CFL tryouts. With no outdoor deals coming yet, Arth knew he needed to continue collecting quality film. This time he returns to Texas, where he attended college at Texas Wesleyan to play for the West Texas Warbirds who joined the National Arena League for 2023. I would argue this league fits his skill set more. The offense in the NAL are much more pass happy than your typical CIF Offenses. 

Eric Mackey Player/Coach? 

Eric Mackey is the new QB2 for Quad Cities behind Ej Hilliard. Most recently he served as the assistant quarterback coach of University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Mackey had an interesting college career that saw him play for three different schools, and make an appearance at running back. His time at Richmond University was probably his best showing as a player where he collected 170 completions on 344 attempts, for 2,078 yards 15 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, 176 carries for 554 yards and 5 touchdowns in the 17-18 seasons. Now he signs with QC as a backup to veteran Hilliard, could he assist the coaching staff in the meantime as well?

Jonathan Bane to Iowa 

With Darius James-Peterson placed on long term injured reserve and his season done after tearing ligaments in his knee, the Barnstormers turned to backup Zach Reader. Reader suffered through some rookie struggles in his attempt to adapt to the indoor game. This left Iowa reeling, winless for a stretch. So Dave Mogensen threw up a Hail Mary. He reached out to an indoor football legend in Jonathan Bane. 

Bane has played in nearly every major indoor or arena football league since 2014 when his career began. Most recently he played for the National Arena League finishing the season as one of the top passers. With many injuries at running back, and Bane inbound Mogensen made a conscious decision to implement more of an NAL style pass first type offense to unleash the talent at receiver and cater to his new Gunslinger, all puns intended.  

Spinning the Quarterback Carousel 

With three professional indoor football leagues carrying just under 30 teams the movement isn’t that surprising especially when you consider the influence of the CFL, USFL, and XFL to sign players at a moments notice from any of these leagues. It’s created a never before seen dynamic where players have more freedom and options than ever before, and sometimes teams are forced to compete not just against their own league, but many others to bring in talent. 

With the Arena Football League reportedly returning next season, and the Major League of Football also trying to return yet again, this only further muddies the waters in the “other” leagues not named the NFL. When you consider opportunities overseas in the Austrian Football League, European League of Football, Japanese X-League, German Football League, and the quickly growing LFA in Mexico the football world has exploded in recent years with more games than ever before at fans disposal. Speaking of fans:

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