AAF to suspend operations, reports say

Memphis Express players react after AAF league folds

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The inaugural season of Alliance of American Football may be over early.

According to reports, the league will be suspending all football operations Tuesday. ProFootballTalk reports the league is not folding right now, but that may be the ultimate result.

The AAF had scheduled a 10-week regular season, and teams have played through seven weeks so far.

A league source tells WMC Action News 5 that the AAF sent a letter at 4 p.m. informing all teams of what will happen next. The three options include restructuring, finding another investor or folding.

AAF to suspend operations, reports say

WMC Action News 5 saw Memphis Express Head Coach Mike Singletary on Tuesday afternoon, who was in no mood to talk. He appeared briefly outside the Express headquarters at the fairgrounds but ran quickly inside when approached.

The players were notified individually, and WMC5 crews saw a few employees carrying items out of Express headquarters Tuesday.

It was a hot topic on ESPN radio Tuesday afternoon, and host Jeffrey Wright said this was not unexpected.

“Tom Dundin, the owner of the league, was essentially trying to get the NFL and NFLPA to loan players to the AF," Wright said. "He said without that the league would no longer be able to continue. learning that to me this was just a matter of time.”

Express executives said there are no plans at this time for a news conference.

Sources say Wednesday is the last day for many AAF personnel.

AAF to suspend operations, reports say

The Southern Hotwing Festival partnered with the Express for the April 13 game, but festival founder Paul Gagliano said that is now off.

“It was co-promoting, basically they were going to promote we were going to promote for them and we were selling tickets for a $30 ticket combo,” Gagliano said. “You could’ve gotten in the game and the festival but now that combo’s out.”

Gagliano said the Express were great to work with and he’s disappointed to see the league didn’t last at least one season.

Express players like Quentin Gause and Charles James found out from social media during practice Tuesday morning.

"I'm good,” James said. “I mean, it's shocking. But I'm good."

“Everybody’s just in shock,” Gause said. “It still hasn’t hit us yet. When adversity hits you, you got to know how to respond.”

It was just two weeks ago the league and Memphis Express got a boost when Johnny Manziel signed on. Now, that AAF party is over.

Memphis Express General Manager Will Lewis also expressed his disappointment.

Lewis said some of the players put together pretty good tape during these eight games, which may help them land another job in another league.

“Very much appreciate of the support we got from the Memphis fans,” Lewis said. "The only thing you feel bad about is that you weren’t able to win more games and sustain the team here in town.”

Copyright 2019 WMC. All rights reserved.