Four months after being barred from a return to the CFL under the league’s violence against women policy, former Most Outstanding Rookie Nate Holley is staging a pro football comeback in the USFL.
Holley was selected 26th overall by the Birmingham Stallions in the fourth round of the USFL’s Supplemental Draft Thursday, becoming the biggest name former CFL player to join the upstart spring league.
The 26-year-old had originally signed a contract with the Toronto Argonauts in November, but the CFL league office refused to register his deal after a number of women came forward on social media with allegations of sexually manipulative and emotionally abusive behaviour by the linebacker.
At the time, the CFL issued no guidance as to the duration or parameters of Holley’s ban from the league. His twin brother Nick, also implicated in some of the allegations, remains on the roster of the Calgary Stampeders.
Holley had been highly coveted following an outstanding 2019 campaign with the Stamps. He played in all 18 regular season games while racking up 78 defensive tackles, 22 special teams tackles, one sack and one interception on his way to winning the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie award.
The six-foot-one, 210-pound native of Michigan signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2020 and played three games recording three total tackles. Holley was waived by Miami as part of final cuts in August of this year.
The Kent State University product also spent time with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017 and the Nebraska Danger of the Indoor Football League and Los Angeles Rams in 2018.
Holley was charged with felony kidnapping and assault in November 2016 and was dismissed from the Kent State football program. He was found not guilt in February 2017 prior to signing in the CFL.