3 Former Pitt Players in UFL

The Pitt football team is well-represented in the NFL with a couple dozen former Panthers on current rosters, but a new professional league has provided opportunities for several more to continue their football careers.

The United Football League, which began its inaugural season a few weeks ago, has four teams competing for a couple months. And former Pittsburgh players Charles Spencer, Josh Lay and Rob Petitti are on UFL rosters.

The 6-foot-4, 338-pound Spencer is an offensive guard with the Florida Tuskers and head coach Jim Haslett, a former defensive coordinator with the Steelers and head coach with the New Orleans Saints. Jay Gruden is the team's offensive coordinator, while Carl Hairston is the defensive coordinator.

Other Tuskers' teammates of note include quarterback Brook Bollinger from Wisconsin, running back Tatum Bell from Oklahoma State, tight end Jon Dekker from Princeton and the Steelers, linebacker Odell Thurman of Georgia and punter Todd Sauerbrun from West Virginia.

Spencer was drafted by the Houston Texans in the third round in 2006, but several injuries led to his release in 2008. He was claimed by the Carolina Panthers, but was waved again and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He was released and later re-signed, but never played a game with them.

At Pitt, Spencer was a former defensive lineman who earned All-Big East honors on the offense line his final two seasons. Spencer redshirted in 2001 and played for the Panthers the ensuing four seasons.

Here is Spencer's UFL bio: Click Here

The 6-6, 327-pound Petitti is an offensive tackle with the Taskers. Petitti was a sixth-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2005 and started all 16 games for them, just the second rookie in club history to do that.

However, he joined the New Orleans Saints in 2006 and played in one game. Petitti then signed with the St. Louis Rams in 2007 and appeared in five contests. He started 17 of 22 games played during his NFL career.

At Pitt, Petitti started four seasons (2001-2004) at left offensive tackle and was an All-Conference pick his final three seasons with a first-team selection in the Big East and earned All-America honors as a senior.

Here is Petitti's UFL bio: Click Here

The 6-2, 195-pound Lay is a cornerback with the California Redwoods for head coach Dennis Green. Mike Kruczek is the team's offensive coordinator. Other players of note with the Redwoods include quarterbacks Shane Boyd from Kentucky and Mike McMahon from Rutgers and North Allegheny High School in suburban Pittsburgh.

Lay was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the sixth round in 2006, but he eventually signed with the St. Louis Rams later that year. He was allocated to the Berlin Thunder in NFL Europe and re-signed by the Rams in 2007.

At Pitt, Lay's career got off to a slow start, but he eventually started 22 of 46 games played with nearly 100 total tackles and seven interceptions. He was a second-team All-Big East selection in 2004.

Here is Lay's UFL bio: Click Here

The other two UFL teams are the Las Vegas Locomotives and New York Sentinels.

Las Vegas has head coach Jim Fassel and key players like offensive tackle Jason Capizzi, initially from Pitt, then IUP and even the Steelers before being released; quarterback J.P. Losman from Tulane and quarterback Tim Rattay from Louisiana Tech.

New York's head coach is Ted Cottrell. Key players include quarterback Ingle Marshall of Furman and long-snapper Jared Retkovsky, who earned a Super Bowl ring with the Steelers this past season.

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