Beniquez Brown was the motor in the middle of the Birmingham Iron defense during its lone 8 game season in the AAF. He finished with 51 solo tackles, 19 assists, 3 sacks, a forced fumble, and 4 pass deflections. His best week arguably game in Week 3 against the Legends, when Beniquez had 10 tackles, a pass deflection, and a forced fumble.
Beniquez played college ball at Mississippi State. He chased down 200 ball carriers, posting 6 sacks, 4 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, and 2 fumble recoveries. 39 games. After not going selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, he signed as a free agent with the Green Bay Packers but did not make the squad.
After the AAF folded, Beniquez was selected by the Houston Roughnecks during the 5th round of the XFL Draft. I was very excited that Houston got him under defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, and Brown did not disappoint as the Roughnecks linebacker corps was among the best in the league. At a few games during the season, I narrowly missed out on getting his autograph before the world shut down due to COVID in 2020. Beniquez finished with 36 combined tackles, 2 quarterback hits, 4 tackles for loss, 2 pass deflections, and a forced fumble in 5 games.
Blake Sims was Alabama’s starting quarterback in 2014. Starting all 14 contests, he was 252 of 391 for 3,487 yards and 28 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He also ran 78 times for 350 yards and 7 TDs. Blake was not selected in the 2015 NFL Draft and teams tried to pigeonhole him in at another position other than quarterback. Sims headed north to the Canadian Football League. There he was on the roster of both the Argonauts and the Roughriders during the 2015 season.
Blake then took his skills to an unusual destination: Australia. He was going to play for the Wollongong Devils of the National Gridiron League- but the league never got off the ground in 2016, so he returned to the United States and signed with the Falcons and spent time on their practice squad before ultimately ending his season on the practice squad of the Bucs.
After he was waived by the Bucs, Sims eventually signed with the Alliance of American Football. He was assigned to the Birmingham Iron and then later re-selected by the team with their second round pick during the QB Draft. Unfortunately he’d be injured and subsequently waived by the team before taking a regular season snap.
Max Redfield played safety for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from 2013-2015. Over his 3 years he totaled 143 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions and 3 pass deflections.
He’d be dismissed from the team in 2016 for violating team rules a second time- specifically possession of an unlicensed handgun and marijuana possession. Redfield enrolled Indiana University -of Pennsylvania. He had a solid season in 2017 for the Crimson Hawks with 78 total tackles, 4 interceptions, 9 pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. A traditional ‘in the box’ safety- Redfield is a sure tackler and solid athlete who can chase down ball carriers while making his home close to the line of scrimmage. He wasn’t selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Redfield made the best of his situation and became one of the stars of the Iron defense. The Iron were well disciplined. Coached by former NFL DB Tim Lewis- they were excellent at keeping opposing offenses in front of them and not giving up big plays or chunk yardage. Starting 7 games Max had a pick, 34 total tackles, and a forced fumble.
After the AAF folded, Max was drafted by the Washington Defenders of the XFL- but he opted to not sign with the league citing the XFL’s poor pay structure. Max wanted to do some travelling, and opted to play for the Italian Football League. After COVID struck, he decided to stay there, becoming an ambassador for the Florence Gufeli of the IFL while the pandemic played out.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.