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The six-month wait for NFL football ends tonight with the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Las Vegas Raiders will square off at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium at 8 pm ET.
While televised football is a sight for sore eyes, Thursday night’s game won’t exactly be Chiefs vs. Bills in the AFC Championship.
You’ll see many lesser-known players trying to make a roster, while stars play limited snaps, if at all.
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But there’s still intrigue as the NFL preseason gets underway.
Three USFL players will be among those competing Thursday night with quarterback Kyle Sloter suiting up for the Jaguars and cornerback Ike Brown and wide receiver Isaiah Zuber getting their shot with the Raiders.
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Sloter, who has spent time with the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and Raiders, threw for 1,798 yards and nine touchdowns in his one season with the New Orleans Breakers.
“There’s a lot of history in this game,” Sloter said, according to Fox Sports. “It’s an honor to be able to play in it.
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“It’s definitely cool to come back,” he added, referencing Tom Benson Stadium. “It’s always nice to be in familiar territory. Mentally, I’ve been able to envision myself in some of the positions I’m going to be in, just in my surroundings and knowing what it felt like to be on that turf and in that stadium.”
Sloter should get ample opportunity to show off his skills as Trevor Lawrence, the NFL’s No. 1 overall pick from 2021, will not play Thursday night. Sloter thinks his recent playing time will be an advantage as he attempts to make the Jaguars roster.
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“I’m one of the few people that will be out there that have seen game action as recently as a month and a half ago,” Sloter said. “A lot of these guys are playing their first game from a year ago this time, where preseason was the only time that they [play]. Or they’re rookies that haven’t played at this level before.
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“So I’m sure, for a lot of guys, the lights will be a little bit bright and mistakes will be made. For others, some people rise to that.”
Zuber led the USFL in receiving touchdowns with five, and Brown had 16 tackles and two interceptions during the USFL season.
Both Jacksonville and Las Vegas are entering the season with a new head coach.