Remember these players? They’re in the new USFL, which starts Saturday

The league opens up play in Birmingham this weekend

Linebacker Reggie Northrup (52) of the Tampa Bay Vipers flex his muscle after a big play during the XFL Football game against the DC Defenders at Raymond James Stadium on March 1, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. The Vipers defeated the Defenders 25 to 0. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) (Don Juan Moore, 2020 Don Juan Moore)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The new USFL begins play this weekend and numerous players with area ties are in the upstart league.

The original USFL was around for three short years (1983-85), including a franchise in Jacksonville, the Bulls. The league ran into financial issues when it attempted to challenge the NFL and move from a spring league to the fall. But a new iteration of the league — with the nostalgic names — begins play in Birmingham on Saturday.

Remember the names? Birmingham Stallions, Houston Gamblers, Michigan Panthers, New Jersey Generals, New Orleans Breakers, Philadelphia Stars, Pittsburgh Maulers and the Tampa Bay Bandits. They’re all back.

A glance at players who are on the rosters of the eight teams in the league, along with some notable former Jaguars players in the USFL.

Notable local players in the USFL

Position Player Team Local tie

DT Jaquan Bailey, Michigan, Raines

LB Blair Brown, Pittsburgh, Jaguars

DB Tae Hayes, Birmingham, Jaguars

QB De’Andre Johnson, New Jersey, First Coast

QB Kyle Lauletta, Pittsburgh, Jaguars

DB Jaylon McClain-Sapp, Pittsburgh, First Coast

OL Garrett McGhin, New Jersey, Jaguars

DB Quenton Meeks, Tampa Bay, Jaguars

QB Alex McGough, Birmingham, Jaguars

LB Reggie Northrup, Houston, First Coast

DE Donald Payne, Houston, Jaguars

K Nick Vogel, Houston, Mandarin

K Brandon Wright, Tampa Bay, Jaguars

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.