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New Orleans Breakers Flashback: Jeff Merrell (VIDEO)

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)


The New Orleans Breakers were a United States Football League franchise that played in the Louisiana Superdome for one season, in 1984. The Breakers began their USFL tenure in Boston, in 1983, but a stadium issue forced a move, allowing New Orleans real estate developer Joe Canizaro to buy the team, and move it to New Orleans for the 1984 season.

In 1984, the Breakers began the season 5-0, but went 3-10 the rest of the way, and missed the USFL playoffs.

New Orleans supported the team well, with the Breakers averaging 30,557 per game, but the USFL opted to move their schedule from the spring to the fall in 1986, and with the Saints in town, the franchise elected to move to Portland for the 1985 season.

All summer long, we’re looking back at former players for the New Orleans Breakers.

Today, defensive lineman Jeff Merrell:

Born in Huntsville, Alabama, Merrell attended Butler High School, before going on to play his college football for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, where he earned three letters, from 1980-1982.

A 10th round selection of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1983 NFL Draft, Merrell was out of football that year, before joining the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL in 1984.

Merrell was productive in his first year of professional football with the Breakers in 1984, collecting 45 tackles, which ranked 17th on the team.

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Merrell also recorded one sack and one fumble recovery.

In 1985, the Breakers moved from New Orleans to Portland, and Merrell went with them, recording four sacks.

The USFL folded in 1986, and that turned out to be the end of Merrell’s professional career, as he went on to work outside of the game of football.

Below, watch Merrell, who wore # 90, and the Portland Breakers, take on the Memphis Showboats, from week 14 of the 1985 USFL season, back on Saturday, May 25, 1985:


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