SAN ANTONIO — The inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football appears to be over.
In a letter sent to AAF employees Tuesday evening, executives laid out their plans for an indefinite suspension of football operations. The letter was posted to Twitter by NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala.
The league says that it plans to "keep a small staff on hand to seek new investment capital and restructure our business." If the AAF is successful in acquiring funding for the league, "we look forward to working with many of you on season two."
The letter also details that most of the AAF employes would be terminated, effective Wednesday, April 3.
An initial report Tuesday morning from Pro Football Talk indicated that the league would suspend "all football operations" Tuesday afternoon. Action Network's Darren Rovell similarily reported that the AAF will suspend football operations "immediately."
Players around the league were informed that the reports were indeed true following practices Tuesday.
The move comes just eight weeks into the regular season, with two games remaining before playoffs commence.
The San Antonio Commanders released the following statement Tuesday night:
On behalf of all of us with the San Antonio Commanders organization, we were shocked and incredibly disappointed to learn of the Boards' decision to suspend football operations.
Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian delivered a quality football product that fans nationally were watching on TV, online, and here in San Antonio on each and every game day.
While all startups encounter some challenges, we believed ours could be addressed in the offseason, after a successful completion to our first season.
We are grateful to our players, coaches, staff, corporate partners, and especially our fans that supported us from the moment our team was announced through the record-setting attendance -- San Antonio proved to be the best fans in The Alliance time and time again.
We hope to be able to share information from The Alliance about ticket refunds in the future.
Thank you for your support and for believing in us.
Mike Riley, Head Coach
Daryl Johnston, General Manager
Vic Gregovits, Team President
Memphis Express quarterback Johnny Manziel took to Twitter to comment on the suspension, noting that the AAF's problems have plagued similar leagues in the past.
Orlando Apollos head coach Steve Spurrier told reporters that he felt bad for players and that he'd been led to believe that the league was more financially stable than this.
The league's majority owner, Tom Dundon, told USA TODAY Sports last week that lack of cooperation from the NFL Players Association to use young players from NFL rosters has left the future of the league unclear.
The AAF, Dundon reiterated to USA TODAY Sports, is a developmental league and without young talent from the players' union to develop, they may have to discontinue the league.
While the NFLPA did not have an official response to the lack of cooperation accusation, a players' union official told the publication that there are risks when it comes to lending active NFL players to the AAF.
In addition to concerns of whether or not lending players would violate the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) terms, the official explained that NFL players could be seriously injured in an AAF game resulting in a player missing an NFL season, which could lead to financial ramifications and a loss of valuable experience.
The San Antonio Commanders learned of the league's suspension of operations at practice Tuesday. players were spotted the Alamodome with equipment in hand; KENS 5 spoke to a few players who reflected on what the abridged season meant to them.