The Tampa Bay Bandits announced Tuesday they’ll be taking a “hiatus” for the second season of the re-booted United States Football League (USFL) as part of a league re-shuffling.
Bandits players and coaches from last season now will represent the Memphis Showboats, a franchise in the original USFL (in existence from 1983-1985) that is re-joining the league for 2023. Showboats games will be played at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium (formerly known as the Liberty Bowl).
Todd Haley, who led the Bandits to a 4-6 record last spring, will coach Memphis. Former USF rush end/linebacker Greg Reaves, a breakout player for the 2022 Bandits, said he intends to play for Memphis next spring.
Daryl Johnston, the league’s executive vice-president for football operations, told the Sports Business Journal that the USFL “is going to have to have (Tampa Bay) not play this year because we can only be the eight teams.”
The intention, Johnston added, is the Bandits are “going to come back at some point.”
The Bandits, and the entire USFL, played all their games in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2022. The league plans to hold games in Birmingham and Memphis next spring, with a third market possible.
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