A week after the Super Bowl LIII confetti falls, the Alliance of American Football will take the field for its opening drive.
Co-founded by producer Charlie Ebersol and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bill Polian, the AAF consists of eight teams and is slated to begin its inaugural 10-week season on Feb. 9, 2019.
On the executive side of the Alliance reside the likes of Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward, Jared Allen, J.K. McKay and Tom Veit. And on the coaching side, there’s the likes of Brad Childress, Mike Singletary, Steve Spurrier, Rick Neuheisel, Dennis Erickson, Mike Riley, Mike Martz and Tim Lewis.
And then there are the rosters.
Each got a slight reshuffle with Tuesday night’s protect-or-pick quarterback draft. Each stands in the ballpark of 50 as the days until kickoff count down.
A long list of NFL notables can be found within them. A long list of players from near and distant New England Patriots past can be, too.
Based on AAF.com’s latest update of assignments, between the Arizona Hotshots, Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron, Memphis Express, Orlando Apollos, San Antonio Commanders, Salt Lake Stallions and San Diego Fleet, there are 21 players who’ve previously been in Foxborough.
Here’s a glance through.
Devin Lucien, wide receiver – The final pick in New England’s 2016 draft. Lucien, a UCLA-turned-Arizona State wideout, spent his rookie season on the team’s practice squad and was waived-injured in September 2017. He returned for a second stint with the Patriots after a four-team itinerary, catching seven passes for 100 yards this August.
Bryce Williams, tight end – Williams, hailing from Marshall and East Carolina, signed with New England as an undrafted free agent in May 2016. The Patriots waived Williams at the 53-man deadline that September. The 25-year-old tight end has since been a member of the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals.
Marcus Hardison, defensive tackle – Hardison joined the Patriots’ practice squad as the calendar flipped to December 2017, but was released three weeks later. The 2015 fourth-round draft selection and Sun Devil has since spent time with the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Chargers.
Steve Beauharnais, linebacker – A seventh-round choice in 2013, Beauharnais appeared in two games and recorded one tackle for New England as a rookie. The Rutgers Scarlet Knight was waived ahead of 2014. Beauharnais has also been on both on the practice squad and 53 of the Washington Redskins, and participated in The Spring League this April.
Jeremy Gallon, wide receiver – No. 244 overall in 2014 began his rookie training camp on physically unable to perform and was waived after two preseason contests. Gallon later joined the Oakland Raiders, and spent time in the Fall Experimental Football League, Canadian Football League, Arena Football League, X-League and American Arena League.
Chase Farris, offensive tackle – The Patriots signed Farris, who set out as a rookie free agent with the Detroit Lions, to the practice squad in October 2016. The Ohio State Buckeye had two stints on the scout team that year and received a Super Bowl LI ring. New England waived Farris with the non-football injury designation prior to training camp in 2017.
Jason King, guard – Part of the Patriots’ 2017 undrafted class, King began his rookie season on New England’s practice squad and later returned after a brief stay with the Baltimore Ravens. The 25-year-old from Purdue would be involved in six more Patriots roster transactions. His final one transpired this September.
Xzavier Dickson, defensive end – The Patriots selected Dickson No. 253 overall in the 2015 draft. The Alabama edge-rusher would be waived by New England at the 53-man cutdown. Dickson made subsequent treks to the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad in addition to the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos.
Deontae Skinner, linebacker – Skinner appeared in seven games for New England as an undrafted rookie in 2014, starting one and recording 16 tackles to go with one sack. The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder out of Mississippi State has also been part of the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Raiders and Tennessee Titans.
Matthew Wells, linebacker – Wells, a fellow Mississippi State ‘backer, landed in New England as a sixth-round pick in the 2015 draft. The Patriots then traded Wells to the Chicago Bears in exchange for guard Ryan Groy in the midst of training camp. Wells has also been with the Rams and Atlanta Falcons, as well as the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Corey Vereen, defensive end – Vereen signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2017. The Tennessee Volunteer was later waived during minicamp with the injury designation. Vereen reverted to New England’s injured reserve after going unclaimed, and reached a settlement at the start of the regular season.
Dwayne Thomas, cornerback – Thomas was another undrafted arrival in 2017. Following his mid-August exit from New England, the LSU Tiger finished out the preseason with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Thomas later took part in The Spring League, and was a member of the Tiger-Cats during the months that followed.
Garrett Gilbert, quarterback – Prior to being taken No. 7 overall in the AAF’s QB draft, Gilbert was taken No. 214 overall in the 2014 NFL draft. Gilbert had a cup of coffee with New England along the way, joining the Patriots’ practice squad in December of his rookie year before being let go that June. He has also spent time with the Lions, Raiders and Panthers.
Brian Tyms, wide receiver – The Patriots added Tyms to the 90-man roster during training camp in 2014, and he stuck. Tyms played in 11 games during the Super Bowl XLIX season, catching five passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Tyms was waived-injured the following camp. He won the Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts in 2017.
Chris Martin, offensive tackle – Martin had two tours with the Patriots, first coming aboard the practice squad in the fall of 2014 and then returning to One Patriot Place as a waiver claim in August 2015. The well-traveled 28-year-old from Central Florida was most recently under contract with the Ottawa Redblacks.
Tre’ Jackson, guard – Jackson went in the fourth round in 2015, and the All-American out of Florida State then went on to start nine of his 13 games as a rookie. Knee issues sent Jackson to physically unable to perform in 2016, and he remained there for the entirety of the campaign. The Rams claimed Jackson off waivers in April 2017, prior to a failed physical.
Brandon Dixon, cornerback – Dixon spent all of October 2015 on the Patriots’ practice squad. The former New York Jets fourth-round pick from Northwest Missouri State has been a member of eight NFL teams over the course of his career, recording 30 tackles, six pass deflections, one interception and one forced fumble.
SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS
Kenneth Farrow, running back – Farrow, who originally signed with the Chargers as a rookie out of Houston in the spring of 2016, joined New England ahead of this August’s preseason finale. He’d proceed make two stops on the practice squad, in September and then from October into November.
Demarcus Ayers, wide receiver – Ayers, also a Houston Cougar, signed to the Patriots’ practice squad during its formation in September 2017. The wideout by way of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2016 draft class was released by New England later that month. Ayers was last a member of the Bears.
SALT LAKE STALLIONS
Trevor Reilly, linebacker – Reilly, a Utah Ute and former Jets seventh-round pick, signed to the Patriots’ practice squad in October 2016. He’d depart from New England for the Miami Dolphins’ active roster that winter, yet made his way back as part of the Patriots’ scout team and 53 over the course of 2017, notching 10 tackles in six games.
SAN DIEGO FLEET
Bishop Sankey, running back – A Titans second-rounder out of Washington in 2014, Sankey signed to the Patriots’ practice squad to begin his third season. Two months later, he was signed away to the Kansas City Chiefs’ active roster. Sankey later latched on with the Vikings, yet suffered a torn ACL in Minnesota’s 2017 preseason opener.