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Former Utes Return to Gridiron in Revived USFL

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 10 Utah at Arizona State Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

36 years after the league initially folded, the United States Football League returns to action this weekend in Birmingham, Alabama, and two former Utes have found their way onto the rosters of the newest iteration of spring football.

Cornerback Brian Allen, a former standout at the University of Utah, will likely see plenty of playing time as the number one rated CB in the league. Allen was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft following a breakout season with the Utes in 2016 where he recorded 35 total tackles, one sack, and four interceptions. Despite some promise, Allen failed to make an impact with the Steelers and was relegated to the practice squad for most of his tenure before being waived in 2019 following his placement on the injured reserve. Allen later bounced around to Seattle, Buffalo, San Francisco, Cincinnati, and Cleveland for various weeks-long stints on their respective practice squads before landing in Birmingham as the team's top defensive back.

Joining Allen in the USFL is former tight end, Hunter Thedford, who was selected by the Pittsburgh Maulers. Thedford played just one season with the Utes following his transfer from SMU in 2019. During his lone season in Utah, the Comanche, TX native played in all 14 games and started in three. Throughout his 2019 campaign, Thedford recorded two catches for 12 yards.

Allen and Thedford will face each other on Sunday, May 29th when the Stallions face the Maulers in Protective Stadium, one of two locations inside Birmingham that will host all of the league’s inaugural games throughout the season.