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From the Playing Field to the Coaching Staff: USFL Players Extending their Reach on the Sidelines

Playing Football is temporary, and if the merger has told us anything it’s that opportunities at the pro level are few and far between. While some players can enjoy long and financially stable careers at the professional level oftentimes when their playing career is done many fall into a bit of limbo when they step off the field for the final time.

For those who are fortunate enough to have the foresight to think about a post-playing career, one pathway that many players turn to is coaching especially for those playing in Spring Football. With the USFL only playing March until about June over the past Two seasons, many players have begun working on their next career in an effort to set themselves up for success.

Players like Joey Magnifico (Michigan Panthers TE), and Brady White (Memphis Showboats QB), made waves as both became GAs/Assistants at Memphis during the 2022 season for the Tigers. As many remember Magnifico was carted off the field with an injury and hasn’t played since. White on the other hand proved ineffective as the Showboats QB and has yet to sign a contract with any teams for 2024. Both players were the first of many to take positions in the off-season as College coaches whether it be for a “foot in the door” or supplement income.

Other USFL players have also begun to make their waves in the coaching ranks. Carson Strong (Michigan Panthers QB) returned to Nevada as an offensive assistant at his alma mater for the 2023 season while still looking to play in 2024. Tyler Palka (Houston Gamblers WR) is now the Offensive Coordinator at Adrian College a Division-II school in the MIAA (D2 SEC) after his career has recently come to an end.

The transition to coaching isn’t only just for USFL players as well. Recently D’Eriq King (DC Defenders QB), was promoted from analyst to QB coach at SMU. King who was used a “gadget QB” for the Defenders will do double duty as the merged USFL-XFL is scheduled to kickoff March 30th. Lindsey Scott Jr. a QB who was the 2023 USFL 2nd overall pick by the Pittsburgh Maulers, spent this offseason with Texas State under G.J. Kinne as an Offensive Assistant and could start his pro career next spring.

While the future of spring football is always in doubt one thing is for sure. Not does the league garner many opportunities for athletes to showcase their skills on the field, it continues to provide opportunities on the sidelines as well. With 2024 on the horizon for the new league, and opportunities to set to be cut in half, it is possible to see more spring football leading the charge off the field in the future. Regardless, on the overall “success” of the league in the future fans can always look back and appreciate the fact many of these players and coaches got their opportunity in the USFL.

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Pat Rifino is a former Security Contractor turned writer. He began his writing career talking about geo-politics, and the defense industry. Now Pat writes about alt-league football, while hanging out with his dogs in his off time.

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