AAF could be NFL developmental league, Chargers exec says

Thomas Barrabi
Fox Business

At least one prominent NFL executive thinks the Alliance of American Football could eventually serve as a proving ground for young players aiming to break into the league.

Co-founded by former NFL executive Bill Polian and entrepreneur Charlie Ebersol, the AAF is the latest in a long line of leagues that has attempted to thrive despite the NFL’s dominance of the sport. But Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said the upstart business, which debuted last weekend to solid ratings and praise on social media, is a “great idea.”

“It has the potential to be a nice complement to the NFL,” Telesco said, according to ESPN. “It's a great spot for a developmental league for players, but even aside from that -- coaches and front office, officiating, athletic trainers and video equipment people, public relations -- all of that. So I think it's a great place where people can develop in every department of football operations. Every department that touches a football team can get some real-life experience."

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Ebersol recently told FOX Business that the AAF was designed to complement, rather than compete with the NFL. All AAF players sign a 3-year, $250,000 contract that allows them to leave for the NFL if a franchise expresses interest.

AAF drew a solid 2.1 overnight rating for its debut broadcast on CBS last Saturday, though numbers were much lower for the league’s broadcast on the NFL Network last Sunday. The league features several former NFL players, including former Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson and former New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg.

Telesco said he plans to send scouts to upcoming AAF games.

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"No. 1, you get a chance to go play football and get paid for it, so that's nice. No. 2, you get great coaching. And No. 3, you get a chance to put tape together so the NFL can evaluate you again. Most of these guys we've seen before, but it gives them a chance to develop and learn, get better at their craft and get it on tape."

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