The first round of cuts occurred in the USFL as the Houston Gamblers dropped their roster size to 56.
Houston Gamblers went through a wave of moves as they complete their first round of cuts. Six players were cut last week with two players being signed onto the team. Five of the players cut were defensive players with one wide receiver from last year’s team being released from the team.
Houston Gamblers Training Camp Recap
Offensive Player Movement
One of the surprise moves of training camp so far is the release of wide receiver JoJo Ward after two weeks in camp. Ward was on the Gamblers’ roster last season catching 16 passes for 110 yards and one touchdown. His main issue was he was dealing with injuries throughout the season that didn’t make him reliable to stay on the field. The receiver room was already deep so it was going to be a challenge for him to make the final roster.
The other offensive move that was made during the week was the team signing tight end Rodell Rahmaan to the roster.
Rahmaan is an athletic tight end who has played several positions in his college career including wide receiver and linebacker. In his lone season at Tennessee State in 2021, he recorded 29 catches for 484 yards and six touchdowns. He’s expected to be the replacement for Julian Allen who was placed on the suspended list at the beginning of camp.
Defensive Player Movement
Houston’s defense is looking for a makeover after losing several starters from last year’s team which could have played a role in five players on that side of the ball being cut. One of the top names on the cut list was defensive tackle, Cory Thomas. He was with the team last year recording 21 tackles which would make him one of the leading tacklers from the group that returned this year. His counterpart on the defensive line Andrew Ankrah was also released from the team.
Linebacker went through some changes as well with Brandon Payer being released from the team. Payer was signed by the team back in September to help fill the void of Donald Payne and Reggie Northrup moving on to the XFL. This resulted in the team signing another linebacker Jeremiah “T.J.” Tyler.
During his career at Princeton, Tyler recorded 163 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 16 pass deflections, three interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. He will have some stiff competition at linebacker but has shown the versatility that the team is looking for in their linebackers.
The secondary was trimmed down by two players with the release of Brandon Brooks and Nazir Streater. Both guys were signed between last September and October with the team not having Jamar Summers and Will Likely on the roster. Both Kevin Sumlin signings might have made it difficult to make the roster for a new head coach and a new coaching staff.
Scrimmage with the Birmingham Stallions
This past weekend, the Birmingham Stallions came to Memphis to scrimmage the Gamblers as part of training camp. The last time the two teams played it was the Gamblers who came out on top winning 17-15 to end the Stallions’ perfect season. Houston was able to have a highlight moment with quarterback Kenji Bahar connecting with receiver KeKe Chism in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
Houston now has one more full week of training camp before they have to put the full team together for their season opener against the Michigan Panthers.