Nine AFL Alums Make Final 53

Former SaberCats fullback Brian Folkerts made the Carolina Panthers 53-man roster.

Sep 1, 2013

AFL Communications

Of the 42 current and former AFL players and assignees to be invited to NFL training camps this season, nine have earned opening day roster spots.

The group is headlined by former Utah Blaze defensive end Caesar Rayford, who collected five sacks in three preseason games earlier this year. Rayford was a First Team All-Arena player as a rookie in 2010 and tallied six sacks in eight games with the Blaze in 2013 before signing with Indianapolis.

Eight other players with AFL ties also made rosters, including Rayford’s former teammate with the Blaze, receiver Michael Preston, who made the cut with the Tennessee Titans. Former San Jose SaberCats fullback Brian Folkerts made the Carolina Panthers’ 53-man squad as an offensive lineman, while former Mark Grieb backup in San Jose, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, will begin the season as the Minnesota Vikings third-string quarterback.

Two former Arizona Rattlers made the cut in New York, as Will Hill will suit up for the Giants and Isaiah Trufant will line up once again for the Jets. Former Philadelphia Soul defensive lineman Tom Johnson made the New Orleans Saints roster as well, as did longtime NFL kickers Matt Bryant in Atlanta and Rob Bironas in Tennessee, both of whom got their pro football starts in the AFL.