The NFL doesn't have a sanctioned minor league, and it has been hard for leagues to stay viable as potential outlets for players to get an opportunity to play when the NFL is not in season (the spring). But the rebooted USFL now has two seasons in the books, and the XFL started its third attempt this spring. The sustainability of two spring football leagues, even with minimal schedule overlap, is to be determined.
The Detroit Lions have tapped into those spring leagues to add players over the last couple years, including wide receiver Maurice Alexander (USFL), kicker John Parker Romo (XFL), cornerback Tae Hayes (USFL), offensive tackle Darren Paulo (USFL), wide receiver Trey Quinn (USFL) and tight end Daniel Heim (USFL).
On Saturday, Dan Campbell talked about the value of the USFL and the XFL for finding talent. Given the type of player he was, not anything close to a star who managed to play a decade in the NFL, he surely has a special appreciation for the opportunities those leagues offer players.
Dan Campbell talks about the value of USFL and XFL as talent beds for the NFL
Here's what Campbell said about the USFL and XFL, via Kory Woods of MLive.
"It’s invaluable. It’s invaluable,” Campbell said while speaking to reporters about the value of both leagues. “You guys remember NFL Europe? I told the guys this story about a week ago, but it was two names: La’Roi Glover and Marco Rivera. And they were both late draft picks and they were just kind of the guys that needed more (time). ‘You know, we kinda like ‘em. They’re promising, but man, they need to play. Send ‘em over to Europe for the spring.’”"- Dan Campbell
Quinn, who played for the Michigan Panthers in the USFL this year after spending time in the NFL, would like to see the NFL embrace the USFL and XFL in some official development capacity.
"If they can just do (something) like ‘Hey, maybe you need to go to the Spring League this year, (and) get some reps, then if NFL coaches a hand on it and say what do you need to work on and send ‘em right back, that’d be, that’d be awesome,”"- Trey Quinn
If the USFL and XFL can maintain viability, they can be de facto minor leagues for the NFL as players get a fresh chance to play. And Campbell is on-board for that.