By Barry Janoff
October 12, 2015: Major League Football, a publicly traded pro spring-football league scheduled to kick off in 2016 with eight teams, is seeking to recruit players via "Pro Day" tryout camps.
MLFB's tryout camps, the first for the fledgling organization, are scheduled to be held throughout October and November in 14 cities.
MLFB is seeking to accomplish what such leagues as the USFL, XLF, UFL, WFL and others have tried and failed. All victims, for several reasons, of trying to be where the 800-lb. gorilla known as the NFL already treads.
"We are very excited to initiate our tryout camps," Wes Chandler, president for Lakewood Ranch, Fla.-based MLFB, said in a statement. "Over the past six months, we have received a steady flow of player, coaching and staff interest from 100's of people eager to play in our league, coach and train our players and be a part of the organizations we intend to staff in each our of inaugural eight-city, Spring 2016 launch."
Tryouts are scheduled for such cities as Portland (Ore.), San Diego, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and Memphis. (Full schedule here.)
Although MLFB said that its "strategically placed spring football season fulfills demand while not conflicting with fall leagues," its planned March-July schedule crosses paths with the start of the MLB season, NCAA Div. I Men's and Women's basketball March Madness, and the end of the NBA and NHL seasons and the entire post-season runs for both leagues.
Even during the off-season, the NFL is never really off. The Scouting Combine is Feb. 23-29, 2016, just weeks after Super Bowl 50; free agency begins March 15; the league's annual meeting is March 20-23; and the NFL Draft is April 20-23.
MLFB said it is "considering more than 14 new markets as potential cities the league will further review to solidify the number of teams in its inaugural season . . . Additional cities will be considered for expansion for the planned second season in 2017."
"I know I speak for the entire management team when I say we are confident the level of talent and play we expect on the field will be very high," said Chandler. "Most importantly, we will begin our inaugural training camp in mid-February and will conclude our first season the end of June, thus allowing MLFB players, if they choose, to still sign with NFL teams before training camps begins."
In addition to Chandler, management includes interim CEO Jerry Vainisi, COO Rick Smith, evp-finance Michael Queen, evp-branding and licensing Ivory Sully and sevp Frank Murtha.
MLFB said its mission is to create a "dynamic league where talented athletes, who still have a desire to play professional football, can showcase their talent and help fulfill their professional football dreams."
According to Campbell, "We are a player-focused league and we believe there is ample talent to provide professional football year around for fans."
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