SAN DIEGO — A little more than a month has passed since the Alliance of American Football shut down, leaving hundreds of players hanging without a job. For the first time, we hear from one of those players: Del Cerro resident Nick Novak, who opens up about his experience in the league and his hopes moving forward.
Novak spends a lot of time kicking around, hoping for another swing at the NFL.
The 37 year-old even joined the AAF in February, and made 13 of his 16 attempts with the Birmingham Iron.
“Overall it was good experience,” said Novak. “I got to be on a pro team again. I was probably one of the first guys to sign in the league back in August of 2018 and at that point, it was just going to be a backup if no NFL teams called and it worked out that way.”
Novak appeared in eight games, even kicking the game-winner against the San Diego Fleet at SDCCU Stadium, but then everything stopped.
“We’re about to go to playoffs and compete for a championship and I don’t care what league you play in, we we’re all excited about that,” said Novak.
Just two weeks shy of finishing the 10-game regular season, the AAF abruptly suspended all football operations. Since the shutdown, Novak and other former players have joined a class-action lawsuit filed against the AAF, which alleges the owners of the league misled players about the financial viability, not to mention breach of contract and fraud among other things.
“I trusted and believed that this was going to last 2-3 years, I think everyone did, that’s why we signed up,” said Novak. “The quality of play was good, a lot of guys have gotten signed from that league so it served it’s purpose in that way.”
Although he’s confident he can still play in the NFL, Novak says he’s happy coaching and sharing his veteran experiences with kids hoping to one day live out their football dreams.
“I think this is my long term job, career is to coach kids and I think ultimately get back on an NFL team and be the kicking coach,” said Novak.
Novak has spent parts of 11 seasons in the NFL, including 5 with the Chargers and he feels confident an NFL team will call again.
“All I can do is take care of my part and practice and stay prepared,” he said. “I’m 100 percent still in it.”