Don’t discount the UFL

Last week, I had a chance to see my first United Football League game when the Florida Tuskers played the Las Vegas Locos at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.

My reason for attending the game was to offer support to my client of several years, center Gene Mruczkowski, who started for the Tuskers. Gene played for the Patriots for four years (2003-2006) and the Dolphins (2007) for one. As an agent, it’s important to support your clients no matter what league they’re playing in. It’s my way of staying in touch with their journey and helping engineer their hopeful return to the NFL.

Every player in the UFL is trying to work his way back to an NFL roster, Gene included. Unfortunately for him, it won’t be this year because he sustained an ACL and MCL tear in the first quarter, ending his season. It pained me to see it because it was the typical way an O-lineman gets hurt -- someone rolls up on his knee from behind or the side. And it especially hurt because Gene is a great guy, father, husband, friend and client.

The fact that I was there when Gene was injured allowed me to see something about the league that impressed me. After the injury, Rick Mueller, the league’s general manager and personnel director, tended to Gene personally and informed him that he would get the best care possible. The medical options allowed to us by the league are without limits, giving Gene access to premium doctors and rehab specialists. I honestly wasn’t expecting this type of treatment, so I was impressed how he was handled by the medical staff and director of the league.

The other thing that impressed me was the quality of football. Although the crowd was sparse and the uniforms a little too neon for my tastes, the coaching and execution was pretty damn good. Coaches Jim Haslett (Florida) and Jim Fassel (Las Vegas) had their teams playing disciplined football. I was expecting some sloppy play, but for the most part it was entertaining, competitive and impressive. Gene, who played with some good players in New England, also has been impressed with the talent level.

On Friday, I was talking to an AFC West GM about one of my clients. As the conversation was ending, I told him about the quality of football I’d seen in Vegas.

“I know,” he said. “I just got done watching some film of last week’s game. There may be a few guys there who can help us down the stretch.”

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