In April of 2004, the Buffalo Bills traded their second-round pick in the NFL Draft - as well as a first-round pick in the following year's selection meeting - to the Dallas Cowboys for the right to select Tulane QB J.P. Losman in the first round.
Flash forward 62 months. His flash-in-the-pan career with the Bills is over, and Losman - unable to land a roster spot with another NFL team, even as a third-stringer - is moving on to the nascent United Football League.
According to UFL Access - which reported the news on Tuesday, two days prior to the UFL's premiere season draft - Losman is set to take the reigns of the league's Las Vegas franchise, head coached by former Giants coach and Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel. The UFL - which has not even provided nicknames for its four franchises at this point - is expected to announce starting quarterbacks for the four teams on July 1.
If this isn't the low point of Losman's disappointing professional career, I don't know what is. It's not terribly uncommon to see first-round draft picks out of the league, but folks are quick to forget that as recently as 2006, Losman had the Bills fighting for playoff contention as late in the season as Week 16 while rating out as the eleventh-best quarterback in the NFL. Since that point, he has been injured, lost his starting job to a rookie, and flamed out as a backup, checking out mentally for his final season in Buffalo.
Still, this move makes a degree of sense for Losman.
He'll play six games (that's the length of the UFL's regular season) under an established offensive mind in Fassel. To say he'll be playing against lesser competition is an understatement. No one has ever questioned Losman's raw talent, which allowed him to make some truly outstanding plays at the NFL level - even if his wild inconsistency and maddening ability to play terribly are his current calling cards. Losman has a chance to put up excellent numbers in the UFL - and doing so under Fassel could earn him another shot at the NFL in 2010. Let's not forget that Losman is still in the prime of his career at just 28 years of age.
I know one thing: I'm curious to see how this unfolds.
DT Tripplett, DE Powell get "drafted" to UFL, too
Losman isn't the only ex-Bill to get a look in the UFL. Two more former Bills defensive linemen were drafted by the UFL Orlando franchise.
When Dick Jauron brought the Cover 2 defensive scheme to Buffalo in 2006, then-GM Marv Levy quickly went out and signed DT Larry Tripplett of the Colts - a player with experience in said scheme. Tripplett spent two years in Buffalo, picking up 68 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception in 32 games. He was released prior to the 2008 season and eventually replaced by Marcus Stroud; he was signed by the Seattle Seahawks prior to the 2008 season, but did not make it out of training camp. He was drafted by the UFL's Orlando franchise.
Joining Tripplett at UFL Orlando is DE Eric Powell, who played exactly one game in Bills career - the 2007 season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos, a game known in Bills lore as the final game of TE Kevin Everett's career. Powell has not played in any NFL games since. The Orlando native will play for his hometown UFL franchise, coached by another man with ties to the Bills organization - former linebacker and Saints and Rams head coach Jim Haslett.