Almost 100 players have made the leap from UFL teams to NFL teams in some capacity in 2009 and 2010. Virginia Destroyers tight end Jamarko Simmons will be the first player to join the NFL ranks in the 2011 season.
Simmons was signed to the New York Jets practice squad on Tuesday. The tight end is a veteran of both the UFL (United Football League) and AFL (Arena Football League), and has won a championship in both leagues. Earlier this year, while with the AFL's Jacksonville Sharks, his team won the ArenaBowl, and most recently his Destroyers won the UFL Championship — a team coached by Marty Schottenheimer.
In four games in the UFL, Simmons hauled in eight receptions for 104 yards. Simmons was invited to work out with the Jets prior to his signing.
"The tight ends coach and offensive coordinator liked my film, so they flew me out for a workout and I did pretty well for myself," Simmons said. "I went in the meeting room, went over some plays, they wanted to see if I could get the concepts down. They came away really impressed with all I had to offer and they signed me to the practice squad for right now. But, you know, anything can happen.
"Starting from the bottom in the AFL, working my way up to get a shot at the UFL, getting a shot in the NFL. All I can say is it's a testament to hard work."