The NFL season has ended with New England winning another Super Bowl but don’t be sad football fans, there is more football to watch. Another developmental spring league is trying to take hold and the Alliance of American Football will kick off their inaugural season this weekend. There are eight teams in this league from coast to coast and the one most local to Wyoming is the Salt Lake Stallions. The Stallions will play at the Arizona Hotshots on Sunday night in their first ever game and they have three Wyoming connections. Let’s have a look:
Head Coach Dennis Erickson
Erickson was the Wyoming football head coach for one season in 1986. He had a record of 6-6 after compiling a record of 32-15 in 4 years as the head coach at Idaho. Erickson left Wyoming in pretty controversial fashion, packing up his office and leaving in the middle of the night for Washington State, without saying a single word to his own players. Mentioning his name to this day in Wyoming brings out the ire in old school Wyoming football fans. You can read more about Erickson’s departure from Laramie in this fine archived article from the LA Times. Erickson leaving Wyoming wasn’t a complete disaster though. Wyoming Athletic Director Paul Roach would name himself head football coach and Wyoming would go 35-15 over the next four seasons with two Western Athletic Conference titles in 1987 and 1988.
Offensive Lineman Ryan Cummings
The Littleton, Colorado product finished his senior season at Wyoming in 2017. He played 34 games in his career for the Cowboys and would have certainly played more if it wasn’t for some injury problems. Out of Wyoming, he received a rookie camp invite from the Houston Texans but did not make it to training camp with the team. In the depth chart released today by the Stallions, Cummings is listed as the starting right guard. Could he turn this experience and exposure into an NFL camp invite this summer? We shall see.
Defensive Lineman Mike Purcell
Purcell played defensive line for Wyoming from 2009 to 20012. During his career he recorded 197 total tackles with 4 sacks. After leaving Laramie, he caught on with the San Francisco 49ers and was on their practice squad or active roster from 2013-2017 before being released. He played in 25 games with 8 starts for the 49ers and has since bounced around on practice squads with the Rams, Panthers, Patriots and Chiefs but has not appeared in an NFL game. In today’s depth chart released by the Stallions, Purcell is listed as one of the starting defensive tackles. Can he use the Alliance of American Football to get back on an active NFL roster? Time will tell.