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Former Raiders player details his experience in now defunct AAF including players kicked out of hotel rooms left to find their way home

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NFL: Preseason-Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Just a couple months ago a lot of people were pretty excited about he prospects of the new Alliance of American Football. It was set up to be a minor league of sorts for the NFL. And it positioned itself during a time we wouldn’t otherwise have football to watch.

The players who joined the AAF were also excited about an opportunity to get back in the sight lines of the NFL so they could prove they belonged on a squad.

Two months in, the big hopes of the league collapsed. And with it, hundreds of professional football players would be out of a job and literally on the street.

There were several former Raiders who joined the AAF. One of them was Oni Omoile who spent two years with the Raiders in 2016-17. You might recall he is the cousin of former Raiders All Pro guard Kelechi Osemele.

Omoile would never get the chance to see game action for the Raiders and over the past couple years has bounced his way around practice squads for several teams trying to earn his way in.

Then the AAF came calling, and the journeyman lineman saw it as his best chance yet to get on the field as a professional player and was allocated to the Memphis Express.

With the collapse of the league, I got Omoile onto the Silver & Black Pridecast to discuss his football career and his experience with the AAF during its brief existence. It was an eye opening interview.

“I felt like it was a solid opportunity to see some playing time, because outside of preseason I hadn’t really seen any action at all. Plus I’d be earning a decent amount of money. AAF contract were probably comparable per game to NFL practice squad contracts so the money wasn’t bad, so that helped push my decision to go to that league,” said Omoile.

“I don’t regret it, I just hate how it all ended.”

The ending was abrupt and cold. The owner cut off all funding, including paying for the hotels of the players and they were on their own. That includes those players who were dealing with injuries sustained in games. Omoile was among those players dealing with an injury.

“Our last game we ended up playing against the [Orlando] Apollos,” Omoile recalled. “I was actually slated to start that game, but towards the end of the first quarter I took a shot to my jaw. . . they took me in and diagnosed me with a mild concussion.

“The couple days after the game I was just at home, I couldn’t really go outside because the light was bothering me too much. And then Tuesday I go in for my daily checkup and I didn’t even... one of my friends tweeted it to me how the league was suspending operations. I was confused about that, so I went back to the facility and I see everyone getting out of meetings. I guess they had just told them the league was shutting down football operations. And then I was told we had to leave by the following morning, that we couldn’t stay at our hotels anymore. Some people had their stuff thrown out of their rooms into the hotel lobby. And one of our guys was from New York and he had to drive 17 hours. I was lucky, I only had to drive like 7 hour, 30 minutes or something, but I was still driving with concussion symptoms, which is very dangerous and I probably shouldn’t have done it, but I felt like I didn’t have a choice so I toughed it out. I ended up making it in one piece, but we weren’t financially compensated for anything. . . guys had to pay for their own flights. It was just very poorly handled and it left a bad taste in my mouth.”

Omoile and most of the other players in the AAF have essentially been playing or practicing football nonstop with no break for at least a year. He said after resting up his body he hopes to find his way back into an NFL camp to keep plugging away at finding his way onto an NFL roster.