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Ricky Stanzi took his last snap at quarterback for Iowa in 2010. He hasn’t thrown a pass in an NFL regular-season game, but clearly hasn’t given up on getting the chance to do so.
At 29, Stanzi’s pro football career has taken a different and unconventional turn. He is in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., and will play this weekend in the debut of the Spring League, a self-described showcase of pro football talent that isn’t affiliated with the NFL.
Four teams full of players will play three games apiece within the next two weeks, starting with games Saturday at noon (Central time) Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. I think Stanzi’s team plays Saturday (don’t hold me to that), based on this tweet.
The last offensive players off the field: QB Ricky Stanzi and a group of wide receivers, making final preparations for Game 1 on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/q6tAq2btDs— The Spring League (@TheSpringLeague) April 14, 2017
The games will be televised on Facebook, by the way.
Former Iowa offensive lineman Jordan Walsh and fullback Adam Cox are also among the players participating. Others include former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, and defensive lineman Greg Hardy.
Here is a list of some of the players: Here is a list of players: Stanzi was a three-year starter for Iowa, and the quarterback for bowl wins in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons. He passed for 56 touchdowns and 7,377 yards.
He was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, was cut and signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013, was cut and was briefly on the Houston Texans’ practice squad in 2014, went to training camp with the New York Giants in 2015 before being cut, and was on the Detroit Lions’ practice squad that year.
He wasn’t on an NFL roster in any form in 2016, though he did go to the Cleveland Browns’ rookie minicamp last spring.
Stanzi, like all the players in this enterprise, must really, really want to get another chance to play. Instead of getting paid, the players are paying $350 to be part of this.
Walsh, who started for Iowa’s Rose Bowl team of 2015, was cut by the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons last August.
Here are a few short videos of Stanzi from the Spring League’s Twitter feed:
WATCH: QB Ricky Stanzi. Dead, solid, perfect. pic.twitter.com/62eNQcA1yg— The Spring League (@TheSpringLeague) April 13, 2017
WATCH: Wide receiver L.T. Smith makes a nice grab off a deep toss from Ricky Stanzi ... pic.twitter.com/MLn213OiHa— The Spring League (@TheSpringLeague) April 12, 2017
WATCH: Coach Terry Shea says "launch it," and QB Ricky Stanzi does so beautifully ... pic.twitter.com/XoVhedTZO5— The Spring League (@TheSpringLeague) April 12, 2017