A new pro football league announced Wednesday it plans to begin hiring players in winter 2017 and staging games in summer 2018.
The Pacific Pro Football League is for players who have graduated from high school but aren't in college and haven't been out for three years in order to make themselves eligible for the NFL. The four-team league, based in Southern California, says it will pay players an average salary of $50,000 and play eight games "under professional football rules, protocols and style," according to a statement sent out by the league.
Each team will have 50 players, according to the league, with coaches coming from the professional and college ranks. The players will also receive paid tuition and books at local community colleges.
Don Yee, who is Tom Brady's agent, is among the founders of the league, along with former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey. Bradley Edwards, Jeffrey Husvar and John Chung are also among the league's officers.
"Pac Pro's concept of 'education' is expansive. Every team will have a counselor to help players develop their interests academically and/or vocationally, and assist with coordinating meaningful internships in their fields of interest," Yee said in a statement.
Edwards, the league's chief operating officer, said that Pac Pro closed a round of angel investing and is looking at sponsors and facilities.
Also on the league's advisory board are former head coach Mike Shanahan, former NFL executive Jim Steeg, current Fox NFL officiating analyst Mike Pereira, former chief strategist for the John McCain campaign Steve Schmidt and ESPN's Adam Schefter. Schefter's role is unpaid, and he will be available for league officials to consult as needed.
"Professional football is a very specialized game; it demands precise techniques and a certain mental approach," Shanahan said in a statement. "Pac Pro's time has come, and these fantastic athletes will be well trained for the pro game on and off the field."
This is the second football league to spring up recently. In December, the NFL notified its 32 teams of a spring development league that will operate in April 2017 and will work with NFL veterans who do not have contracts.