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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 the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium at 8pm 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 a lot of lesser-known players trying to make a roster, while stars play limited snaps, if at all.
But there is still intrigue as the NFL preseason begins.
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.
Sloter, who 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.
“It’s definitely cool to be back,” he added, referring to Tom Benson Stadium. “It’s always nice to be in familiar territory. Mentally, I could picture myself in some of the positions I’m going to be in, just being in my surroundings and knowing what it felt like to be on that turf and in that stadium.”
Sloter should have ample opportunity to showcase his skills as Trevor Lawrence, the NFL’s No. 1 overall pick. 1 of 2021, will not play Thursday night. Sloter thinks his recent playing time will be an advantage as he tries to make the Jaguars roster.
“I’m one of the few people that will be there that saw game action a month and a half ago,” Sloter said. “A lot of these guys are playing their first game since a year ago this time, where preseason was the only time they [play]. Or they are rookies who have not played at this level before.
“So I’m sure for a lot of guys, the lights will be a little bright and mistakes will be made. For others, some people rise to it.”
Zubero 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 enter the season with a new head coach.