Demarcus Ayers, Doran Grant Among Dozens Of Former Steelers Making AAF Debuts

As you might have heard, the Alliance of American Football is a new professional football league that intends to kick off this weekend with its inaugural games, and it’s a league with a Pittsburgh Steelers feel, including the involvement of the likes of Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward.

But if you look through the rosters—and if you have a really good memory and pay attention to the obscure players on the offseason rosters—you are likely to see a lot of familiar names, even including some former Steelers draft picks. We’ll go through the rosters team by team.

The Arizona Hotshots contain only one former member of the Steelers that I’m aware of on their current roster, and that would be veteran inside linebacker Steven Johnson, who spent parts of two seasons in Pittsburgh in 2017 and 2017. Former cornerback Shaquille Richardson has already landed on injured reserve.

The Atlanta Legends have a bigger presence, featuring former practice squad wide receiver Justin Thomas and 2015 fourth-round draft pick, cornerback Doran Grant. Grant spent time on the 53-man roster during his rookie season but did not last much longer than that.

The Birmingham Iron roster contains offensive lineman Larson Graham, who was on the team’s training camp roster last season and who worked all over from tackle to center, in addition to 2015 offseason roster wide receiver L’Damian Washington and LaDarius Perkins, a running back who spent some time on the practice squad all the way back in 2014.. The defense is also loaded with former Steelers players, especially the defensive line.

2018 seventh-round defensive tackle Joshua Frazier would be the name freshest in memory, the lone draft pick from last season who isn’t still on the team. Also there are Casey Sayles and Johnny Maxey, who spent time on the 53-man roster a couple years ago. Jamar Summers and Jacob Hagen find themselves in the secondary.

The Memphis Express have Zach Mettenberger at quarterback and Rajion Neal at running back, the latter having spent some time on the practice squad. Greg Gilmore was a potential darkhorse defensive lineman not long ago, and punter Brad Wing is also on board.

The Orlando Apollos have former Pittsburgh tight end Scott Orndoff and linebacker Terence Garvin. Garvin spent his first three seasons with the Steelers before lasting a few more years kicking around the league. Former college free agent defensive lineman Giorgio Newberry joins them in Orlando.

The San Antonio Commanders include running back David Cobb, who was on the practice squad in 2016, as well as Trey Williams, a practice squader in 2017. Quarterback Dustin Vaughan was in training camp in 2016. Wide receiver Demarcus Ayers resurfaces there as well, in addition to training camp tight end Cameron Clear and linebacker Darnell Leslie.

Finally, there is the San Diego Fleet, including Terrell Watson a running back who started the 2017 season with the team. Offensive lineman Brandon Hodges was on the offseason roster inrecent years. And, by god almighty, if it isn’t Travis Feeney! Remember him, the slim linebacker who was injured in training camp? He joins Greg Ducre, who was on the team’s injured reserve list as a cornerback in 2017.

The only AAF team on whose roster I can’t find any former Steelers players is the Salt Lake Stallions. If you find any former Steelers that I missed, please let me know and I will update this post.

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