The Alliance of American Football got off to a promising start this past weekend, drawing decent TV ratings as curious eyes checked out the new spring league and hardcore football fans sought their fix with the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror.
The eight-team, 10-week league features a few rules twists such as no extra-point kicks (all conversions must be two-point tries) and a limit on the number of pass rushers, and fans also get to watch live interaction between on-field officials and a press box official known as the sky judge.
Also, to the delight of many and the consternation of some, there were some vicious hits laid out without a flag in sight. In fact, the league seemed to embrace it:
Several former Ravens are in the league as they stay involved with the game and potentially work their way back to an NFL roster. Among the notables are quarterback Josh Woodrum, who started for the Salt Lake Stallions in their opener; and linebacker Steven Johnson, one of the keys to a season-opening win for the Arizona Hotshots.
Here's a rundown of how some former Ravens did during the AAF's opening weekend. (And yes, technically, Trent Richardson was a former Raven, if only for an uneventful summer):
WR Kenny Bell (Salt Lake Stallions) -- The starting wide receiver was targeted three times but had no catches.
CB Will Davis (Salt Lake Stallion) -- Davis, whose brief stint with the Ravens was derailed by a torn ACL in 2015, was a starting cornerback and finished with five tackles and one pass defensed.
TE Gavin Escobar (San Diego Fleet) -- The journeyman tight end, who had a brief stint with the Ravens in 2017, was the starting tight end for the Fleet and had four catches for 66 yards.
S Will Hill (Orlando Apollos) -- Best known in Baltimore for his "kick six" blocked-field goal return touchdown to beat the Cleveland Browns in 2015, Hill started for the Apollos and had seven tackles during a 40-6 rout of the Atlanta Legends.
LB Steven Johnson (Arizona Hotshots) -- Johnson, who was with the Ravens in 2017, led the Hotshots with seven tackles and had an interception to set up a touchdown during a 38-22 win against Salt Lake.
RB Terrence Magee (Memphis Express) -- The reserve running back had five carries for 18 yards. The Express' starter was former St. Louis Rams and New York Jets running back Zac Stacy.
G Robert Myers (Memphis Express) -- A reserve lineman for Memphis, Myers was cut by the Ravens as a fifth-round rookie in 2015, a rare move by the team. But he won the Good Timing Award when he later was signed by the Denver Broncos just before their playoff run that ended with a Super Bowl title.
RB Trent Richardson (Birmingham Iron) -- The league's biggest name from the first weekend, Richardson carried 23 times for 58 yards and two touchdowns during a 26-0 win against Memphis. The former No. 3 overall pick had a stint in the Canadian Football League after his brief offseason foray with the Ravens in 2016.
QB Josh Woodrum (Salt Lake Stallions) -- The star of Ravens training camp in 2017 started for the Stallions and went 10-for 22 for 103 yards with one touchdown and one interception before leaving the game with a hamstring injury.
Incidentally, the league's coaches include former Ravens staffers Rick Neuheisel with the Arizona Hotshots and Mike Singletary with the Memphis Express. Other coaches include Steve Spurrier with the Orlando Apollos, Dennis Erickson with the Salt Lake Stallions and Mike Martz of the San Diego Fleet.
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Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox