Football hasn't technically been laid to rest this year thanks to the Alliance of American Football league.
The new league kicked off its inaugural season last Saturday, giving aspiring professionals another opportunity to chase their NFL dreams. There are just eight teams and five Buckeyes already on rosters in wide receiver Jalin Marshall, offensive lineman Chase Farris, tight end Marcus Baugh, defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle and cornerback Doran Grant.
Marshall had the best Buckeye debut.
Jalin Marshall scores the first touchdown in AAF history. pic.twitter.com/pd7xZZmu5e
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) February 10, 2019
Watching Marshall do his thing got us thinking — which former Buckeyes could use a stint in the AAF to remind the NFL what they're capable of?
Cardale Jones, Quarterback
The man who commandeered Ohio State to and through the 2014 College Football Playoff deserves better than the Los Angeles Chargers practice squad.
Jones has spent his professional career in limbo behind Phillip Rivers after Buffalo traded him to the Chargers. His career stats are bleak: just six-of-11 passing for 96 yards with an interception in just one game appearance with the Bills in 2016.
He just signed a reserve/future contract with the Chargers, who may need a backup with Geno Smith's pending free agency looming. If things don't go his way, he needs the opportunity to remind NFL teams what he can do.
Devin Smith, Wide Receiver
Devin Smith, Jones' favorite target during that playoff run, needs a fresh start as well.
The ceiling seemed so high for Smith at the start of his professional career when he was drafted by the New York Jets in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft. But due to lingering injuries, the speedy wideout appeared in just 10 games over the last four seasons, totaling a meager 10 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown.
The Dallas Cowboys just signed Smith to a reserve/future contract.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 18, 2019
If he gets healthy and Dallas still lets him go, the AAF would be a perfect showcase.
Braxton Miller, Flash of Lightning
Arguably the most electrifying athlete to suit in Scarlet and Gray since Teddy Ginn, Braxton Miller's professional career has mimicked his final season in Columbus. He's showcased the tantalizing playmaking ability, but he hasn't quite settled into the wide receiver role.
After the shoulder injury that derailed his 2014 season, Miller made the switch H-back for Ohio State. He totaled 601 yards of offense and scored four touchdowns for the Buckeyes in 2015, and the following spring, he was drafted in the third round by the Houston Texans.
Like Smith, he's battled injuries and appeared in just 21 games since 2016. He was released by the Texans before the start of last season, and was then picked up and signed to Philadelphia's practice squad. He didn't play in any game for the Eagles in 2018.
It's hard to say whether Miller will ever find his footing on the perimeter, but what's certain is the football universe deserves more highlights like this.