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Introducing the Memphis Express

Former Jets RB Stacy runs for the Express

If you were watching Monday Night Football on Oct. 28, 2013, you probably had Zac Stacy pegged for stardom and might even have celebrated his status on your fantasy team. On that night, he was a Rams rookie running wild against a stingy Seattle defense, finishing with 26 carries for 134 yards, on his way to back-to-back 100-plus performances. Stacy’s professional path did not turn out to be nearly as easy as it was through the Seahawks defense that night, but five years later he has a new lease on football life. He will try to reinvent himself and realize that demonstrated potential as a running back just signed by the new Memphis team in The Alliance of American Football. Stacy was drafted out of Vanderbilt by the Rams in the fifth round (160th overall) in 2013, and he made an immediate impact as a rookie. That season, he rushed 250 times for 973 yards and seven touchdowns and another 141 yards receiving. His NFL peak came in that MNF game, and the next week, he ran for 127 yards on 27 rushes and two TDs. His rushes declined from 250 to 76 in 2014, though, and the Rams caused a stir by selecting running back Todd Gurley in the 2015 NFL Draft. Stacy tweeted the simple word “yikes” upon seeing that first-round selection as his obvious replacement . . . and promptly requested a trade. The Rams accommodated him, sending Stacy to the Jets in exchange for New York’s 2015 seventh-round pick. Stacy appeared in eight games for the Jets, carrying 31 times for 89 yards, but broke an ankle against the Bills on that Nov. 12. He went on injured reserve a day later, and the Jets released him the next summer after he failed a physical. Stacy announced his retirement from the NFL on Instagram, and came out of retirement this past May to sign with Saskatchewan of the Canadian Football League. That figured to be his comeback. He led the team in rushing in both preseason games, with 51 yards on 11 carries, yet lost out to Tre Mason in the battle for that job, despite more usage. “He’s tough. He’s gritty. And he’s got unbelievable hands. He can get out of the backfield and do some things,” Saskatchewan running backs coach Kent Maugeri said. “The way he carries himself, he’s a pro. You don’t have to worry about him.” Now The Alliance offers Stacy a new chance to earn back that spotlight and possibly reach the potential he showed everyone with 3,143 rushing yards at Vandy and then with his initial NFL splash. He might look a little different, though, because he tweeted on Sept. 19: “I’ve been locked in for so long I done got dreads ….” One thing hasn’t changed about Stacy, and that is his positive perspective. He has a lot of it, thanks largely to growing up with a younger brother, Justin, who has Down Syndrome. “Absolutely, my brother Justin just teaches me that it’s bigger than football sometimes,” Stacy said. “You’ve got to get outside that bubble a little bit, […]

Express LB Alexander ‘eager to get started’

By Mark Newman When the Memphis team in The Alliance of American Football signed Donnie Alexander to a new contract, one of his first official acts was to ask a former Louisiana State teammate for some advice. “Honestly, this is going to be my first time going to Memphis,” Alexander said. “I don’t know too much about the place, but what I remember from my partner Big Frank, who played at LSU with me, it’s a good place to play, a good city.” “Big Frank” is Frank Herron, a Memphis native who was one of the final preseason cuts by the New England Patriots and subsequently added to the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad and then released on Sept. 11. Memphis residents jumped in on Alexander’s Twitter comments, recommending several barbecue joints. As fans get to know the large battalion of former LSU players who will be preparing for The Alliance’s inaugural season starting a week after the Super Bowl, they will no doubt notice Alexander. He is from New Orleans and has Mardi Gras style and panache. As a senior inside linebacker last season, Alexander was a sartorial superstar, starting the “suit n sack” tradition by wearing a suit with a peacock as he came off the team bus. The 2018 Tigers are continuing his tradition, while Alexander gets to know his own new town and people. “I’m extremely excited about it because this has given me another opportunity to reach my ultimate goal,” Alexander said in his “Meet The Alliance” video selfie. Alexander wears some familiar LSU gear in the video, keeping him connected to heady college days. As a senior, he registered 51 tackles (12 alone in a win over Arkansas), one sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He missed the bowl games against Notre Dame (shoulder). Now he will be playing for one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history, Memphis coach Mike Singletary. “I’m just eager to get started,” Alexander said. Other former LSU players around him will include quarterback Zach Mettenberger, running back Kenny Hilliard, tight end Colin Jeter, defensive end Deondre Clark and kicker Josh Jasper.

It’s here! ‘Get on board the Memphis Express’

By Mark Newman The Memphis Express has arrived! The city’s new team in The Alliance of American Football revealed its name on Thursday, and make no mistake: This is all about being the best. It is a team in a city on the fast track to making a difference, proud of its famous heritage, excited by its future, strong and never settling. “The name stands for progression, passion and fun, which are all traits that I find in the everyday Memphian,” said Kosha Irby, President of the Express. “The city will be able to connect with this name and this identity because I think it truly represents not only today, but the future.”  The red, white, and blue in the logo reflect Memphis’ place at the heart of America. As for when fans should get excited, Irby did not hesitate. “Today is the day to get on board the Memphis Express,” he said. Speed is of the essence, because speed is the essence.   Fast, unstoppable up the middle, and reliable — like a high-speed train or jet or breakthrough. And this rush comes with a schedule as well, one that begins in February, one week after the Super Bowl. The Express was one of four teams that celebrated its name reveal on Thursday, along with the Atlanta Legends, Birmingham Iron and Orlando Apollos. The other four teams in The Alliance will be announced soon. In Memphis specifically, excitement builds as more and more players are signed to a roster that will be coached by Hall of Famer Mike Singletary. Under his leadership and that of GM Tim Lewis and Irby, the Express is all about the pairing of precision and urgency. Memphis moves swiftly, purposefully, determined to move forward, to raise the bar and earn respect every day. Anyone who walks the city’s streets knows what this great American town is made of. It’s on the cutting edge in medicine, music and logistics, and Memphis does whatever it takes to bring delight. The football team pledges to be no different: The Memphis Express, performing gracefully, successfully and in record time. Memphis dreams big. This team. This place. On the fast track. Anything less is not acceptable.

Singletary set to lead Memphis Pro Football Team

By Jason King The inaugural season of The Alliance of American Football is fast approaching in five months, and the league’s Memphis franchise is already attracting national headlines. This is even before the players who’ll roam the field are in uniform. What’s getting much-deserved attention is a certain figure who’ll stand tall on the sideline. Hall-of-Fame linebacker Mike Singletary—the Chicago Bears legend and one of the top defensive players in NFL history—agreed in May to become the head coach of the Memphis Alliance when AAF games begin in February. The league boasts other big names such as Steve Spurrier (Orlando), Brad Childress (Atlanta) and Dennis Erickson (Salt Lake City). But Memphis’ signing of NFL icon Singletary put his team on the map like an emphatic, successful, high-stakes blitz. Shortly after his hiring in May, Singletary promised Memphis fans that he’d deliver “a brand of football you’re going to enjoy.” “We’re going to play fast,” he said. “And we’re going to play tough.” Singletary exuded both of those qualities during his 11-year career with the Bears, 10 of which ended with Pro Bowl invites. His most notable season came in 1985, when Singletary flourished in Chicago’s “46 Defense,” which allowed him to go unblocked on almost every snap. Singletary recorded 161 total tackles and won NFL Defensive MVP honors as the Bears cruised to a 43-10 victory over New England in the Super Bowl. Singletary’s pregame speeches during the Bears’ playoff run that season became the stuff of legend, as teammates once became so inspired that they picked up tables and chairs and hurled them across the room before storming the field. More than three decades later, AAF officials are hoping Singletary’s motivational skills will have a rousing impact on Memphis and players and fans, too. “It’s going to be a team effort,” Singletary said during a May interview with “The Jason & John Show” on 92.9 FM in Memphis. “It’s about making sure we have an offense that’s moving fast and getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hands. And at the same time, when we’re running the ball, we’ve got to make sure we’re getting the ball down the field and complementing the pass, creating a balance.” Singletary, 59, was just weeks removed from accepting the head coaching position at Trinity Christian Academy—a private high school in the Dallas suburb of Addison—when AAF officials contacted him about the Memphis job in March. He said the involvement of longtime Indianapolis Colts president and general manager Bill Polian immediately caught his attention and made him believe the league will not only succeed, but thrive. Polian is the AAF’s co-founder. “For Bill Polian to be involved … I had to take a step back and listen to what he was saying,” Singletary told the radio station. “He’s been around a while. He’s been a part of great organizations. He knows what’s taking bout about. For him to be involved, I knew there must be something very positive about it.” Singletary is coaching high school ball this fall and will join The Alliance in the spring. He said he especially looks forward to […]

THE ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL NAMES TEAM PRESIDENTS

New Professional Football League Names Seven Team Presidents for Atlanta, Birmingham, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and Salt Lake City SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – August 28, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football has named seven team Presidents who will lead all business operations for The Alliance in their respective cities. The Alliance announced that David Livingston (Atlanta), Tom Ward (Birmingham), Mike Waddell (Orlando), Scott Brubaker (Phoenix), Tyler Howell (Salt Lake City), Vic Gregovits (San Antonio) and Jeff Garner (San Diego) are joining Alliance Memphis team president Kosha Irby, who was announced in May, in the new professional football league. “As we began our journey to find the right leader for each organization, we had a specific set of criteria that we felt was uniquely specific to each city,” said Tom Veit, head of business operations, The Alliance. “Ultimately we were able to find an incredible group of team presidents that possess the intellect, leadership, and strategic mindset necessary to build our alliance.” “As we expand our footprint in each of our eight Alliance markets, our team presidents will build thoughtful community partnerships to ensure we are active and engaged members building lasting and meaningful relationships.” Among the additions announced today are respected executives in a variety of sports and entertainment fields which include: ATLANTA: As an experienced marketer with a career forged building brand programs and platforms connected to sports and entertainment, W. David Livingston joins Alliance Atlanta from Comcast Spectacor’s Spectra Venue Management team where he served as director, national corporate partnerships. Livingston also spent time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and 15 years leading sales and business development for IMG Golf in Cleveland. He began his career in brand management at Procter and Gamble. BIRMINGHAM: A well-rounded and results-driven sports executive with 25 years of experience in marketing, sales, partnership, broadcasting, arena/stadium naming rights and business development, Tom Ward joins Alliance Birmingham after serving as the senior vice president, brand, community, partnership development for the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League. Ward is a veteran award-winning storyteller who has played an integral role in the launching of multiple professional sports franchises and opening arenas and stadiums. ORLANDO: A veteran professional sports and college athletics administrator, Mike Waddell joins Alliance Orlando after spending the previous two years as vice president of Richmond Raceway. In his role with NASCAR, Waddell’s responsibilities included oversight over all marketing, ticketing, strategic communications, creative, digital strategy, eaSports and fan engagement operations for the raceway, which operates as one of the 12 motorsports facilities of International Speedway Corporation. PHOENIX: A well-respected sports sponsorship sales professional with deep Arizona roots, Scott Brubaker joins Alliance Phoenix from Learfield bringing with him more than 30 years of experience. While with Learfield, Brubaker held a variety of senior roles within the company across multiple properties, the last of which was vice president, national sales located in Chicago and Atlanta. SALT LAKE CITY: A veteran sports industry sales professional with over 20 years in leadership experience, Tyler Howell joins Alliance Salt Lake City following an impressive stint with the Portland Trail Blazers. During his time in Portland, Howell had […]

THE ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL ADDS 105 PLAYERS

The Alliance Signs 105 Players to Contracts for the 2019 Inaugural Season Beginning February 9, 2019 Latest Signings Bring League Total to 205 Players SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – August 17, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football has signed the following 105 players to contracts for the 2019 inaugural season:

THE ALLIANCE OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL SIGNS FIRST 100 PLAYERS

New Professional Football League Begins Player Acquisition Process for 2019 Inaugural Season SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – August 6, 2018 – The Alliance of American Football has signed its first 100 players to compete in the new professional league launching on February 9, 2019. The Alliance recently began the process of offering player contracts to potential prospects following an extensive evaluation process by the personnel staff of The Alliance’s eight teams. “Today marks an exciting step in our journey to providing fans and players with top-flight football in the spring, as we begin to establish a competitive foundation and base of talent that will keep expanding throughout this fall and winter,” explained Bill Polian, co-founder and head of football, The Alliance. “These athletes will now have an opportunity to begin, extend or revitalize their professional football careers and continue playing the game we all love.” He added, “Our personnel staff, general managers and coaches will continue to recruit aggressively in the days and months to come. Team-building is a never ending task and we are excited to attack that challenge and to build on this very positive start.” The standard Alliance player contract offers players a base salary of $250,000 over three years with a comprehensive bonus system which will award financial compensation based on a variety of metrics such as performance, win, and fan engagement. Additionally, players who make final rosters will be offered postsecondary education assistance and health and wellness benefits. Players are allocated to Alliance teams based on where they competed in college. If a player’s college is outside The Alliance footprint, he will be allocated based on his most recent NFL/CFL team. If a player’s college is outside The Alliance allocation footprint AND he did not play in the NFL or CFL, then he is unallocated and available to be tendered a contract by any Alliance team. If a player signs with The Alliance and is then offered a contract to play in the National Football League, the player will be granted permission to pursue that opportunity.