World League players making impact in NFL


Former London Monarchs quarterback Brad Johnson, one of 93 former World League players on NFL opening-day rosters, could make his first NFL start Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings face the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

Johnson, who started all 10 games for the Monarchs during the 1995 World League season, will start for the first time in a five-year NFL career if Warren Moon fails to recover from the ankle and toe injuries that forced him out of the Vikings' Week 1 game against the Detroit Lions.

Johnson made the most of his opportunity against Detroit, completing 16 of 23 passes for 157 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown pass to Cris Carter with 66 seconds remaining for a 17-13 Vikings victory. The former ninth round draft choice out of Florida State goes into Week 2 of the season as the NFL's second-rated passer with a rating of 103.0.

The heroics of Johnson on the NFL's opening weekend highlighted the achievement of 93 players who developed their skills in the World League and made their clubs' opening-day rosters -- a significant increase on 72 World Leaguers involved in the 1995 NFL season.

Of the 93 players, 70 were on the active roster for the Week 1 matchups, while 13 were on the practice squad and a further 10 were on reserve.

"The high number of World League players involved in the NFL season is another indication of the high standard of player we have in the league," said World League president Oliver Luck. "As a former quarterback, I am delighted to see 13 quarterbacks who have graduated from the World League school making their mark in the NFL."

If Johnson starts against the Falcons, he will be backed up by his old foe at the Barcelona Dragons, Jay Walker.

The Vikings are due to make a decision on Moon's fitness closer to gametime.

"If it's my time to play, then I will," Johnson said. "But if Warren's ready to play, I'll go back to being the No. 2 guy."

Moon has no worries about the prospect of Johnson having to step into the spotlight.

"When I first got here I didn't feel very confident that, if something happened to me, I could come out and we could put him in those situations," said Moon. "But now he's a guy that you're not going to worry about so much if I'm feeling bad."

Here is a rundown of World League players on 1996 NFL opening-day rosters:

ARIZONA CARDINALS
Active:          Jerry Drake, DE, London 1996
Injured Reserve: Blaine Berger, DT, Amsterdam 1995, London 1996

ATLANTA FALCONS
Active:          Louis Riddick, S, Sacramento 1992

BUFFALO BILLS
Active:          Chris Mohr, P, Montreal 1991

CHICAGO BEARS
Active:          Greg Briggs, LB, Frankfurt 1995
                 Keith Jennings, TE, Montreal 1991
                 Marcus Spears, OL, Amsterdam 1996
Injured Reserve: David Webb, LB, Scotland 1996
                 Zev Lumelski, T, Amsterdam 1996

DALLAS COWBOYS
Active:          Jason Garrett, QB, San Antonio 1991
                 George Hegamin, T, Frankfurt 1996

DENVER BRONCOS
Active:          Byron Chamberlain, WR, Rhein 1996
                 Tom Rouen, P, Ohio 1992
Practice Squad:  Michael Titley, TE, Orlando 1992, London 1995-96

DETROIT LIONS
Active:          Jocelyn Borgella, CB, Scotland 1995
                 Scott Mitchell, QB, Orlando 1992
Practice Squad:  Tommie Boyd, WR, Rhein 1996

GREEN BAY PACKERS
Active:          George Koonce, LB, Ohio 1992
                 Doug Pederson, QB, NY/NJ 1992, Rhein 1995

HOUSTON OILERS
Active:          Willie Davis, WR, Orlando 1992
                 Purvis Hunt, G, Scotland 1996
                 Erik Norgard, C/G, San Antonio 1992
Practice Squad:  James Roberson, DE, Rhein 1996
Reserve/Suspend: Torey Hunter, CB, Amsterdam 1996

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Active:          Kerwin Bell, QB, Orlando 1991-92
                 Cary Blanchard, K, Sacramento 1992
                 Steve Hardin, G, Rhein 1996
                 Paul Justin, QB, Frankfurt 1995
                 Bobby Olive, WR, Frankfurt 1995
                 Kipp Vickers, OL, Frankfurt 1995

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Active:          Jeff Novak, OL, Montreal 1991-92
                 Darren Studstill, S, London 1996

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Active:          Louis Aguiar, P, Barcelona 1991
                 Tom Barndt, G, Scotland 1996
                 Steve Matthews, QB, Scotland 1996
                 Pellom McDaniels, DE, Barcelona 1991-92
                 Tracy Simien, LB, Montreal 1991
                 Keith Traylor, DT, Barcelona 1995
Injured Reserve: Kenny McEntyre, CB, London 1995-96

MIAMI DOLPHINS
Active:          Everett McIver, G, London 1996

MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Active:          Brad Johnson, QB, London 1995
                 Jay Walker, QB, Barcelona 1995

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Active:          Adam Vinatieri, K, Amsterdam 1996

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Active:          Paul Green, TE, Sacramento 1992
                 Brian Jones, LB, Scotland 1995
                 Ed King, G, Barcelona 1995
                 Andy McCollum, G, Barcelona 1995
                 Doug Nussmeier, QB, Rhein 1995
                 Donald Willis, G, Amsterdam 1996
Practice Squad:  Kevin Farkas, T, Amsterdam 1996
Injured Reserve: Israel Byrd, CB, Scotland 1996

NEW YORK JETS
Active:          Ron Carpenter, S, Amsterdam 1995
                 Rick Hamilton, LB, Barcelona 1996
                 Don Silvestri, K, London 1995
                 James Parrish, T, London-Barcelona 1992
Practice Squad:  Bobby Hamilton, DE, Amsterdam 1996

NEW YORK GIANTS
Practice Squad:  Jeremy Burkett, RB, Barcelona 1996

OAKLAND RAIDERS
Active:          Rick Cunningham, T, Orlando 1992
                 Mike Jones, LB, Sacramento 1992
                 Dan Land, S, New York/New Jersey 1992
                 Kenny Shedd, WR, Barcelona 1996
Practice Squad:  Jerone Davison, RB, Rhein 1996
Injured Reserve: Keith Franklin, LB, Amsterdam 1996

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Active:          Jim Miller, QB, Frankfurt 1995
                 Chris Oldham, CB, San Antonio 1992
Practice Squad:  Jay Kearney, WR, Frankfurt 1996
                 Terry Richardson, RB, Rhein 1996
                 Matt Storm, G, Scotland 1996
Injured Reserve: Patrick Scott, LB, Frankfurt 1995

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Active:          Adam Walker, RB, Ohio 1992

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Active:          Darren Bennett, P, Amsterdam 1995
                 Mark Montreuil, CB, London 1996

SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
Active:          Michael Brandon, DE, Scotland 1995
                 Dedrick Dodge, S, London 1991-92
                 Ted Popson, TE, London 1992
Practice Squad:  Mike Salmon, S, Rhein 1996

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Active:          Stan Gelbaugh, QB, London 1991-92
                 Michael Sinclair, DE, Sacramento 1992
                 Ronnie Williams, TE, San Antonio 1991-92
Practice Squad:  Riddick Parker, DT, Rhein 1996

ST LOUIS RAMS
Active:          Paschall Davis, LB, Amsterdam 1996
                 Cedric Figaro, LB, Amsterdam 1995
                 Jon Kirksey, DT, Amsterdam 1995
                 Jamie Martin, QB, Amsterdam 1995
                 Anthony Parker, CB, New York/New Jersey 1991
Injured Reserve: Troy Ridgley, DT, Scotland 1995-96, Amsterdam 1996
                 Jay Williams, DE, Amsterdam 1996

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Active:          Scott Adams, OL, Barcelona 1991
                 Herman Smith, DE, London 1995
                 Willy Tate, TE, Scotland 1996
                 Casey Weldon, QB, Barcelona 1995
Practice Squad:  Marvin Marshall, WR, Barcelona 1996

WASHINGTON REDSKINS
Practice Squad:  Ed Smith, TE, Frankfurt 1996
World League players in the NFL, by the numbers:
By roster category
Active Roster      70
Practice Squad     13
Reserve            10

By position
Offensive lineman  18
Quarterbacks       13
Linebackers        11
Defensive ends      8
Tight ends          8
Cornerbacks         7
Safeties            6
Wide receivers      6
Defensive tackles   5
Punters             4
Running backs       4
Kickers             3

By World League team
Amsterdam Admirals 17
London Monarchs    14
Barcelona Dragons  13
Scottish Claymores 11
Rhein Fire         10
Frankfurt Galaxy    9
Orlando Thunder     5
Sacramento Surge    5
Montreal Machine    4
San Antonio Riders  4
NY/NJ Knights       3
Ohio Glory          3
Note: Some players are listed under more than one team.

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