If you’re an alternative football fan in no less than four countries, and likely many more, you might recognize the name Tommy Auger. A veteran of the Austrian Football League, the Fan Controlled Football League, and a stint with the XFL, he has taken his talents to the Liga de Fútbol Americano in an effort to prove he belongs in the XFL, USFL, CFL, or hopefully the NFL.
Tommy played his college ball here in the states at Saint John’s University, a Division III program. This isn’t your average DIII program however as it has a long history of producing NFL Draft Picks. Including as recently as 2020 when the Jaguars selected Ben Bartch in the 4th round, just two years after Auger graduated. There are versatile players, and then there is Tommy Auger’s collegiate career.
Tommy came into college as a 6’3 210 pound wide receiver recruited to play tight end. By the time he had graduated he had added 25 pounds, but still managed to average 13.4 yards per reception during his career. He also showed his value on special teams when he added 3 kick returns for 17 yards as an up back on squib kicks, and 3 punts for 99 yards in an emergency situation during a game.
Austrian Football League
After college, Auger was offered a contract with the AFL’s Cinneplexx Blue Devils. Many players go from college to the professional realm and see a drop off statistically based on the level of competition rising. Auger however, put up a career season. Catching 34 passes for 654 yards and 8 touchdowns, averaging 19.2 yards per reception in his lone season in Austria.
Fan Controlled Football League
In 2022 Auger came back to the United States and played in a league unlike any other. The Fan Controlled Football League is essentially the closest thing to reality and video games being meshed in a professional football league. To truly understand how different the experience was for Auger, you have to understand how the league selects players. The FCF groups their offensive linemen and their tight ends. Units were reselected each week, but the biggest difference is these units then play two games back-to-back each day.
FCF Ties Lead to XFL Chances
In this setup, not only did Auger perform well, he was regarded as one of the top blockers in the league, and named to the FCF All-Star Team, carrying this momentum into the 2023 XFL Draft. While he was not selected in the initial draft, the Orlando Guardians and former FCF coach Robert Ford selected him in the supplemental draft as a long snapper. Not only can Tommy split out wide or in the slot as a former wide receiver, he can line up in line as a true tight end and block well, he can long snap, and when he isn’t long snapping he can play the other phases of special teams, including kickoff return and coverage units.
Unfortunately Orlando released Tommy opting to run with their 3rd string tight end as their long snapper. Both roles that Tommy could have filled. Not one to get caught up in the business side of things, Tommy simply looked to his next opportunity. This time football led him south of the border to the LFA or Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional.
One More Country Added to the List
The LFA, is the largest outdoor football league in Mexico. Prior to the 2023 season the FAM league was competition for the LFA, but they closed up shop after their 2022 season. This in turn made the LFA larger and stronger as the lone professional football league, and allowed it to absorb some of the more financially secure teams. Tommy would land with the Fundidores de Monterrey, and end up winning the starting job to begin the season.
If you thought his statistics were impressive in the AFL, you haven’t seen anything yet. With the Fundidores de Monterrey, Auger was listed as a WR on the roster but appears as a tight end on the depth chart. This is truly just a show of his versatility if anything. Currently Tommy is 11th in reception yardage among the league as a whole with 546 yards, credited with 48 receptions. He also has racked up 198 yards after the catch. He is the top tight end in the league in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
On top of his duties as a “wide receiver” Tommy is also still serving as a long snapper working to improve his special teams craft as well. He understands he will not be leaping into the XFL, CFL, or USFL immediately as a starter, and his best chance to make the leap, might be special teams. Long snapper at this point is considered a specialist, many teams carry a player specifically to handle this duty. However, XFL teams got creative trying to sneak a viable offensive contributor onto the roster. It’s surprising that a team didn’t see the value of Tommy in this role as a long snapper and depth tight end even when other players weren’t performing well in that aspect.
Cautionary Tale for Ignoring Talent in International Leagues
I would caution that these leagues should take note, former FCF and ELF star player Kavontae Turpin just made an NFL Pro-bowl, and USFL All Star team in the same calendar season. Do you want to miss out on a player with the same potential? Tommy has excelled in every professional league he has seen the field in, and I have a feeling the LFA isn’t his last stop. There are several USFL, XFL, and CFL teams that could benefit from a player like Tommy, even if it is strictly due to his special teams acumen at first. It would only be a matter of time before Auger finds a role on offense as well.
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