Cornerback Jamar Summers has been one of the early breakout performers for the upstart Alliance of American Football through three weeks of play as he has helped his Birmingham Iron get off to a 3-0 start, matching the Orlando Apollos for the best record in the league so far. But before that, he was in camp in 2018 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The six-foot defensive back out of the University of Connecticut played throughout the preseason in Pittsburgh, logging a healthy number of snaps and recording nine tackles over four games. He ended the preseason with two passes defensed against the Carolina Panthers, but the Steelers did not retain him on the practice squad.
He netted a $5000 signing bonus for his troubles, remaining unemployed throughout the remainder of the 2018 NFL season, before finding his way to the AAF. As the Steelers are an affiliate of the Iron, that is where he was assigned, and as it turns out, it has been a good fit for arguably the best defense in the league.
“I consider myself a playmaker”, he told the Iron’s website. He has two touchdowns in three games, which is tied for the second-most in the league behind only Terence Garvin’s three. Garvin is another former Steeler. Summers also forced fumble on special teams in the one game in which he did not pick off a pass.
While he realizes that he has been successful so far and that his play has generated some buzz, Summers is a long way off from listening, instead looking to finish off his AAF season strong before he gives any thought to what comes next.
“It’s just noise”, he said. “The same people saying that three games in can easily turn their back on me the minute I give up an explosive play. Football is a humbling sport and the position I play is a humbling one so there is give and take”.
According to Pro Football Focus, Summers has allowed a passer rating of 0.0 so far, averaging one reception allowed per 28.3 snaps in coverage. They even currently list him sixth in the running for their AAF player of the year:
“Jamar Summers had a great game in coverage for the Iron in their win over the Atlanta Legends. He was targeted seven times and allowed only two receptions for 36 yards and recorded three pass breakups, including one interception”, they wrote. “Summers is arguably the biggest reason for the Iron having the top team-defense grade (78.4) in the AAF so far”.
If he continues to play at this level through the 10-game schedule and the AAF postseason, he seems bound to be offered an NFL contract by at least one team for 2019. AAF players are permitted to sign with an NFL team, breaking their three-year contracts, between the end of the league’s season through the beginning of December.