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Seven Players who had successful careers in both the NFL and the Arena Football League

Seven Players who had successful careers in both the NFL and the Arena Football League
Seven Players who had successful careers in both the NFL and the Arena Football League

I started my career in the Arena Football League, working with the Orlando Predators, and I wanted to take some time to give the fast-paced and high-scoring league a shout-out. While the league has seen numerous talented athletes, here are some notable NFL players who played in Arena Football:

  1. Kurt Warner – Warner is perhaps the most famous player to come from Arena Football. Before his Hall of Fame NFL career, Warner played for the Iowa Barnstormers in the Arena Football League (AFL). He later went on to win the Super Bowl and earned multiple MVP awards in the NFL.
  2. Jay Gruden – Gruden played quarterback in the AFL and was part of the Tampa Bay Storm’s championship-winning team. He later became a coach in the NFL and served as the head coach for the Washington Redskins.
  3. Sherdrick Bonner – Bonner had a successful career in the AFL, playing quarterback for the Arizona Rattlers. He won multiple championships and was named the league’s MVP multiple times. While he didn’t have a significant NFL career, he is considered one of the best players in Arena Football history.
  4. Randy Gatewood – Gatewood was a dynamic wide receiver for the Arizona Rattlers in the AFL. He holds numerous records in the league and had a short stint in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills.
  5. Lawrence Samuels – Samuels was a standout receiver and defensive back in the AFL. He had a successful career with the Tampa Bay Storm, winning multiple championships. Although he didn’t play in the NFL, he is regarded as one of the greatest players in AFL history.
  6. Aaron Garcia – Garcia is one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in Arena Football history. He played for various AFL teams and set numerous passing records throughout his career.
  7. Oronde Gadsden – Former Dolphins wide receiver had a great career after a year with the Portland Forest Dragons in 1998. He was the AFL rookie of the year.

It’s important to note that while Arena Football has provided a platform for talented players to showcase their skills, the style of play in the league is different from the NFL, and success in Arena Football does not always guarantee success in the NFL.

Nonetheless, the league has been a stepping stone for many players to pursue their football dreams and make an impact in professional football.

Damond Talbot

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at

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