Former Missouri Tigers defensive tackle, Rickey Hately, inked a contract with an Alliance of American Football team in Birmingham.
An undrafted free agent in 2017, Hatley signed with the NFL’s Houston Texans, and later spent time on the Kansas City Chiefs’ and Buffalo Bills’ practice squads. Hatley was signed to Buffalo’s active roster in December 2017, but was released in September of this year.
There’s no doubt, any collegiate athlete has had dreams of playing in the NFL at one point during his career. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of players are drafted, and an even smaller percentage of players sign and stay with a team as an undrafted free agent.
While at Missouri, Hatley did the “grunt work” very well for Missouri’s defensive line, when called upon. His style of play was very consistent, but he wasn’t a flashy play-maker who put up gaudy stats.
Hatley made a respectable career at Mizzou. During his four seasons, he played in 27 games, and amassed 67 total tackles (35 solo, 32 assists), three sacks, and a forced fumble.
Sometimes, the lesser-knowns slip through the cracks trying to get to the NFL, but a few teams gave him opportunities to at least get his feet wet. Over the course of two seasons it didn’t work out, and Hatley’s NFL career seems short-lived.
The AAF is a startup league that will commence play in February 2019. Other leagues have tried to attract NFL fans with limited success, after the Super Bowl. Since Hatley’s dream was to play in the NFL, perhaps the AAF’s Birmingham Iron can be a good stopping point to re-brand himself and launch back to the NFL.