NFL lists 229 players for overseas league

Updated: February 9, 2004, 8:21 PM ET
Associated Press

IRVING, Texas -- Chad Hutchinson is headed to Europe to try proving to Bill Parcells that he can be an NFL quarterback.

Hutchinson, who failed to impress Parcells at Dallas Cowboys training camp last summer, was among 229 players the league listed Monday as going to NFL Europe.

The opportunity to gain playing time overseas has been a boon for several players, including quarterbacks. Super Bowl starter Jake Delhomme of the Carolina Panthers spent two seasons in Europe, the first as a backup to Kurt Warner before he blossomed into an NFL MVP. Brad Johnson also played in Europe years before helping Tampa Bay win the Super Bowl.

Included among the other 18 Europe-bound quarterbacks are third-stringer Rohan Davey of Super Bowl champion New England, former University of Oklahoma standout Nate Hybl of Cleveland, and Todd Husak, also of the Browns, who won NFL Europe's World Bowl two years ago.

Hutchinson went from four years of pro baseball to the Cowboys' starter midway through his rookie season in 2002. The Cowboys went 2-7 in his starts and coach Dave Campo was fired after the season, leading to the hiring of Parcells.

Parcells picked Quincy Carter as his starter over Hutchinson and gave Carter nearly every snap last season. Dallas went 10-6 and made the playoffs.

At his season-ending news conference, Parcells said Hutchinson could use all the snaps he can get.

"He is going to play over there," Parcells said. "Now, quite frankly, it's been my experience if a guy goes over to Europe and he can't play over there, he is going to have a hard time playing over here."

To earn the starting job for the Rhein Fire, Hutchinson will have to beat out Wesley Phillips, son of former Denver and Buffalo head coach Wade Phillips, and former Vanderbilt star Greg Zolman of the Buffalo Bills.

Running back Skip Hicks of Cincinnati is among 44 allocated players who were drafted by NFL teams. NFL senior director of football operations Nick Polk called that unprecedented figure "another indicator of the increasing depth of talent in the pool of allocated players."

Kansas City allocated 17 players, the most of any team. Cleveland had 14. More could be added before training camp opens in Florida later this month. The season begins April 3.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press