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NFL to commence formal talks over development league

Troy Vincent, head of football operations at the NFL, has said that the American football league has begun talks over the possible introduction of a development competition or in-season academy.

In an interview with the CBSSports.com website, Vincent said that the league plans to hold formal discussions with the Competition Committee about the issue, having mooted the idea for some time.

The NFL, which has studied the issue at some length, previously spoke with the Competition Committee about the possibility of a development setup, but has not approached the subject on a formal level for over a decade.

The initiative is believed to have the backing of numerous team owners, coaches and NFL icons such as Hall of Fame coach John Madden, who consults for the NFL on such matters.

“We are ready to socialise our findings to the respective committees at the Pro Bowl, Senior Bowl and combine,” Vincent said. “We have some viable potential options that are ready to share with the Competition Committee, the Coaches Subcommittee and with some of our active and former players.

“Our goal is to create a platform that addresses the entire football community – coaches, officials, front office personnel and players – is essential to the long-term sustainability of our game.”

The NFL is the only major sports league in North America not to have an official development competition in place. The National Basketball Association has the D-League, while MLB baseball operates Minor League Baseball and NHL ice hockey has the American Hockey League.