When Danny Wuerffel calls, you listen.
The former Florida Gators quarterback and 1996 Heisman Trophy winner recently decided to assemble a team to compete in the American Flag Football League’s U.S. Open tournament. So he made some calls to longtime friends — for example, ex-Gators receiver Chris Doering — and some people he barely knew.
One of the recipients of a call was Major Wright, a recently retired NFL safety who won a national title with the Gators in 2008. He was so shocked Wuerffel was calling that he needed to double-check the authenticity.
“THE Danny Wuerffel?” Wright asked.
Before Wright knew it, his football career was back on. He and a handful of other former Gators stars are competing in a regional qualifier this weekend for a chance at making the league’s premier tournament — and competing for its $1 million prize. The bracket will feature former NFL stars such as Michael Vick and Chad Johnson.
Wuerffel’s Gators squad will make its debut Sunday. Fans who want to follow along must travel to Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., and see the game in person at 11 a.m. ET.
Wright, who spent seven years in the NFL with the Bears and Buccaneers, said he never has competed in a flag-football event.
“I’ve always been a more physical guy,” he told SEC Country on Friday.
When asked if he might break the rules and lay someone out, he laughed.
“It’s way different,” he said. “You have to have good hand-eye coordination to catch up to a person while the person’s juking you, doing whatever he can, and you have to put your eyes on something that’s on somebody’s waist. It’s pretty tough.”
The team roster is as follows (in alphabetical order):
- Ahmad Black
- James di Virgilio
- Chris Doering
- Anthony Gay
- Frankie Hammond
- Brandon James
- Moses Jenkins
- Jerome Lemon
- Travis McGriff (alternate)
- Wondy Pierre-Louis
- Chris Rainey
- Major Wright
- Danny Wuerffel