Former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Gary Stills is ready to make his debut for the Las Vegas Locomotives tonight on Versus. According to Las Vegas coach Jim Fassel feels strongly about his defense that features eight former NFL players.
“This is not the NFL,” Fassel said. “But a lot of these guys aren’t far off.”
Included in the group of NFL veterans on the Locomotives are players who weren’t merely role players, but standouts.
As a 49er, Tony Parrish led the NFL in interceptions in 2003 with nine and received mention on All-Pro teams. Linebacker Gary Stills, 35, made the Pro Bowl the same season as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
But no acceptable offers were extended when Parrish and Stills’ most recent NFL contracts expired in 2007 and 2008, respectively. That’s what drove them to the UFL.
Although Las Vegas has only practiced together for three weeks, Parrish said he could already tell how dangerous the defense would be. That much is apparent simply by watching the linebackers.
Oklahoma alums Teddy Lehman and Brandon Moore will start alongside Stills. Lehman was an All-American in college and the Detroit Lions made him a second round choice in 2004. Moore was the 49ers’ leading tackler in 2007.
“At the professional level, there’s really nothing that replaces experience,” Fassel said. “These guys know how to play the game and the tricks. They know the nuances.”
I’m not sure how successful the UFL will be, but you can’t deny the amount of talent on the rosters.
Las Vegas alone has Lehman, Moore, QB JP Losman, RB DeDe Dorsey and former Chiefs Stills and Tavares Washington. Sure, none of these guys are going to step onto an NFL roster and start, but plenty of solid potential role players. At the very least the UFL will provide more tape on a guy that guys sitting on practice squads.