Former CFL QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson released by USFL’s New Orleans Breakers

Photo courtesy: Justin Dunk

Former CFL quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson has been released by the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL.

The 35-year-old led the league in passing yards this past season, completing 65.5 percent of his passes for 2,433 yards, 14 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. His team went 7-3 in the regular season but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Birmingham Stallions.

Bethel-Thompson elected not to return to the CFL following the 2022 season, citing his desire to be closer to his young family. His partner, Chinaka Hodge, is the head writer for an upcoming Marvel series on Disney+ called Ironheart. Though he is now free to sign a contract in any league, the veteran passer has been clear that his goal is to return to the NFL in 2023.

The native of San Francisco, Calif. led the CFL in passing yards in 2022, completing 66.8 percent of his passes for 4,731 yards, 23 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He helped Toronto win the 109th Grey Cup but exited the game in the fourth quarter after suffering a dislocated thumb.

The pro football journeyman has played in alternative professional leagues in the past, spending time in the Arena Football League and United Football League in between NFL stops. He spent the cancelled 2020 CFL season playing in The Spring League, which formed the foundations of the current USFL.

The six-foot-four, 220-pound passer played 74 games over five seasons with the Argonauts, throwing for 13,261 yards, 70 touchdowns, and 49 interceptions. He was named an East Division all-star in 2021 and 2022 and led the league in touchdown passes in 2019.

Bethel-Thompson went unselected in the 2011 NFL Draft but spent time with a number of teams in the league, including the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles. He did not dress for any regular-season NFL games.