AAF players authorized to sign with NFL teams

The Alliance of American Football might be over. But some of its players' pro careers could soon be advancing.

Two days after suspending operations indefinitely, the AAF announced Thursday that all its players are authorized to sign with NFL teams. It's an encouraging development for a contingent that lost its employment before the startup league's inaugural season even concluded.

Last week, Vikings GM Rick Spielman told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport he anticipates NFL teams being interested in acquiring AAF players.

Several were making a significant impact through the first two months of the AAF season, including wide receiver Charles Johnson (Orlando Apollos), defensive end Karter Schult (Salt Lake Stallions), linebacker Jayrone Elliott (San Antonio Commanders) and running back Trent Richardson (Birmingham Iron) -- the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft was leading the league in touchdowns (12).

Players signed three-year, $250,000 contracts to play in the AAF. Those were non-guaranteed, however, leaving hundreds without pay following the abrupt cancellation of the season. The hope from the onset of the AAF was that it would serve as a developmental league for the NFL. While its run appears to be short-lived, that initial objective still might manifest for certain individuals.

"My thanks go out to all who made our football product so competitive and professional," AAF co-founder Bill Polian said as part of a longer statement Tuesday. "I am certain there are many among them destined for future success in the NFL and I look forward to doing all I can to help them in their quest."

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