In the early 1980’s, I broadcast games for the San Antonio Charros of the American Football Association, which was generously referred to as a “semipro football league.” If there was money available, the players got about $50 a game. If there wasn’t, they settled for the free beer on the long bus rides home from places like Shreveport, Louisiana. Most of the players had college experience, some at the highest level. Some played just for the love of the game, but most hadn’t given up their dream of playing in the NFL, even though each was generally a step slow or too small.
For most, it was a pipe dream that was never going to happen, but they weren’t ready to give up. There were even some players who had been in the NFL, like Charros quarterback Randy Johnson. He’d had a good long run as the Atlanta Falcons starter and late in his career, came to the Redskins and beat out Joe Theismann for the backup job behind Billy Kilmer. He was hoping for another shot. Jerry Golsteyn actually got one. After kicking around as a backup quarterback for four teams over a six year period, playing in a total of 21 games, Golsteyn turned a year with the AFA’s Orlando Americans into a job with the Orlando Renegades of the USFL in 1985. The Renegades had been the Washington Federals in 1983 and 84, before giving up on the idea of making spring football work at RFK Stadium.