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What former Detroit Lions will be playing in the AAF’s opening weekend?

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A few familiar faces will be suiting up for the AAF’s inaugural weekend.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Football fans have been clamoring for a Spring football league for years now, and it looks like their wishes have finally been granted. This Saturday, the inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football will kick off when the San Diego Fleet take on the San Antonio Commanders and the Atlanta Legends face off against the Orlando Apollos.

While the league is brand new, the teams’ rosters are packed with names that longtime NFL fans will recognize. Former Detroit Lions players are all around the league as they continue their football careers and hope for a second chance in the NFL.

Here are a few names to watch this weekend:

San Diego Fleet

Alex Barrett

The Lions snagged Barrett as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He was a preseason standout but failed to make the 53-man roster. He was retained as a member of the team’s practice squad, and eventually did find his way on to the active roster. The defensive end featured in three games for Detroit before returning to the practice squad. He was removed from the team’s practice squad this past November.

Other former Lions:

Dontez Ford (2017-2018)
Kendall James (2015)
Brian Brown (2018-2019)
Beau Nunn (2018)

Atlanta Legends

Chase Farris (2016)

Orlando Apollos

Garrett Gilbert

Gilbert was a member of the Carolina Panthers at the end of the 2018 season, and even featured for the team last December. Long ago in 2015, the Lions scooped him up off waiver when the New England Patriots let him go in training camp. Gilbert failed to make the team’s final roster, though, and bounced from team to team before eventually landing on the Apollos. Gilbert is set to start this weekend.

Other former Lions:

Scott Orndoff (2017)
Jerome Couplin (2014)
Earl Okine (2017)
D’Joun Smith (2016)

Birmingham Iron

Devin Taylor

Taylor was selected by the Lions in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. The defensive end played four years in Detroit, totaling 15 sacks in his 61 games in the Honolulu blue. The Lions elected not to retain him when his rookie deal ended in 2016 and he later joined the New York Giants.

Memphis Express

Brandon Barnes (2017-2018)

Arizona Hotshots

Jeff Locke

Jeff Locke had an interesting span in Detroit. In 2017, the punter was tapped by the team when Kasey Redfern tore his ACL on a broken play. He punted 27 times in five games for Detroit. He averaged 45.3 yards per punt.

Other former Lions:

Pierce Burton (2017)
Rashad Ross (2016)
Dexter McDougle (2018)
Sterling Moore (2018)

Salt Lake Stallions

Matt Asiata (2017)
Joel Bouagnon (2018)
Kaelin Clay (2015)

The San Antonio Commanders do not have any former-Lions on their roster as of now.