Former Eagles Ron Brooks, Greg Ward Jr. Shine in AAF Debut

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

While the season may be over for the Eagles, there are some former Eagles players who are looking to make a name for themselves and return to the NFL for another chance.

A new place for players to showcase their talent is the Alliance of American Football (AAF), which had its first two games ever Saturday night. The league features eight teams (all of them in southern cities) and has started to play a 10-week schedule with an additional two weeks of playoffs. As the league is not meant to be a competitor to the NFL, the games started following the Super Bowl and will end prior to NFL preseason games and training camp.

Among the names on the rosters of the four teams that played Saturday are former Eagles defensive tackle Winston Craig, safety Ed Reynolds, wide receiver Greg Ward Jr. and cornerbacks De’Vante Bausby and Ron Brooks.

Two of those players made the highlight reels for the first week of action and, if they keep playing this way, could very well find themselves on an NFL roster for the 2019 season.

Fan favorite Greg Ward Jr. found himself making a big play for the San Antonio Commanders in the league opener. On second and 10 with the game scoreless in the second quarter, Ward grabbed a pass and got his feet in bounds before running out on a 36-yard catch. The catch put the Commanders in the red zone.

Ward spent the last two preseasons with the Eagles and the 2017 season on the Eagles practice squad. This preseason, he caught four passes for 29 yards with the Eagles. He started in the final game of the preseason, but did not make the 53-man roster.

On the other side of the ball, former Eagles corner Ron Brooks was playing for the San Diego Fleet. Both the Fleet and the Commanders were able to manage two field goals, keeping the game tied. The Commanders were looking to break that tie, but Brooks intercepted the ball in the endzone to keep them off the board.

It could be argued that the pass was simply poor rather than Brooks making a fantastic play, but Brooks did a nice job of reading the play and getting the turnover.

Brooks came to the Eagles in 2016 as part of the defensive crew that followed Jim Schwartz to Philadelphia because they had worked with him in Buffalo. Brooks served as the slot corner while Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll took the outside corner spots. Many fans will remember how that unit performed.

Brooks could arguably have been the best of the three, but he registered only 12 tackles and one defensed pass prior to suffering a quadricep injury in week seven and landing on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. He was cut following the 2017 preseason and was not signed by any team until the AAF came around.

Ward and the Commanders defeated Brooks and the Fleet in the opener, 15-6.

Two more AAF games will occur today featuring other former Eagles, including both wide receiver Josh Huff and quarterback Christian Hackenberg.

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