Alliance of American Football: The Next Kurt Warner May Be in Birmingham

Luis Perez
NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 30: Luis Perez #9 of the Los Angeles Rams throws a pass during a game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome during week 4 of the preseason on August 30, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Rams 28-0. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Throwing comparisons to Kurt Warner seems a bit unfair. No doubt, there will never be another Kurt Warner. So put that to test before reading any further. Although that may be true, there is one guy that does see the “it” factor in Luis Perez. And this is no average Joe. The fact of the matter is, without a guy named Al Luginbill, there may not be a guy named Kurt Warner in the Hall of Fame. Actually, Warner may have never even played in the NFL.

And the legendary eye for finding NFL diamonds in the rough sat a few feet away from me at a Birmingham Irons practice a couple weeks ago, ahead of kickoff for the Alliance of American Football. Luginbill started rattling off all kinds of details about routes, mechanics, footwork, release etc.

At the time, the name Al Luginbill didn’t mean much until later on in the week. Still, it was obvious that this guy knew his stuff. There was so much pile of knowledge coming out about every single thing happening on the field. It was as if he was writing a book right there in the press box. And at least I got the opportunity to savor a couple of hours to listen.

One of the players that caught his eye was quarterback Luis Perez. “He’s either going to be the best quarterback in the league or the worst,” Luginbill said.

Of course, it’s impossible to base a whole future of a player on one two hour study. But make no mistake Luis Perez’s presence has caught some attention and he’s a fascinating story.

Perez was picked up by the Los Angeles Rams last year after being undrafted. He signed a contract on May 14th, 2018 and saw some action in the last preseason game against the New Orleans Saints.

Rams’ head coach Sean McVay had a lot to say about the rookie Perez back then.

“He’s really impressive. He’s got a nice stroke too, really has a good feel of picking things up,” Mcvay said. Perez caught the eye of his former coach Sean Mcvay and sometimes actually showed him up with a “no pain no gain” work ethic.

“A couple of times he kind of pissed me off, because he beat me in the office. He’s already in the office studying tape. I’m like what the heck are you doing in here already man.”

That’s just Perez being himself. And the story about how he got to the Birmingham Iron is as believable as a fairy tale. Being a quarterback that was ninth on the depth chart at his junior college almost seems ridiculous. Not only did Perez beat the odds and become the starter, he became the leading passer in Division II history.

After college at Texas A&M-Commerce, Perez landed an invite to the Rams mini-camp which eventually led him to signing a contract as an undrafted free agent.

Perez saw action in the last preseason game against the New Orleans Saints in preseason game four. Initially, he was released then signed onto the practice squad for a few weeks. Nevertheless, Perez found himself released again on September 18th, 2018.

Now, Luis Perez has made it to the final 52 man roster for the Birmingham Iron. Perez has a pretty good shot of landing the starting role although quarterback Blake Sims may get the nod. Regardless, Perez has an opportunity. A brand new league and a city that can easily fall in love with up and coming. Don’t be surprised if Perez eventually gets another shot at the NFL.

People doubted Kurt Warner and he shocked the world.

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