The Birmingham Stallions have announced the signing of two-way player Isaiah Zuber. Zuber has played both wide receiver and cornerback in his career, but was listed as a cornerback upon his signing. Chris Orr has opted to retire from football, thinning out a very deep linebacker unit for the Stallions. 

Isaiah Zuber 

Isaiah Zuber is one of the more interesting USFL players over the past two seasons. Having turned NFL heads in season one of the USFL following a season in which he logged 22 receptions for 322 yards and 5 touchdowns, adding 18 kick returns for 425 yards, 2 punt returns for 8 yards, and 1 tackle on special teams. Zuber would sign with the Las Vegas Raiders, led by Josh McDaniels a long standing member of the Belichick coaching tree. 

This coaching tree is known for experimenting with players in positions they have never played at the professional level. Mike Vrabel catching touchdown passes, Troy Brown playing defensive back, or Vince Wilfork playing fullback at times proves this. Zuber was just the latest name on a long list to see time on the opposite side of the field. The Raiders would experiment with Zuber at cornerback. 

Ultimately Zuber was released in April just before the 2023 NFL Draft. Six days later he returned to the Gamblers intending to and ultimately playing the 2023 season with them. 

He would again sign with the Raiders following the 2023 USFL season, landing on injured reserve just two weeks later. The Raiders released Zuber on September 5th. Knowing there was no rush to sign with the USFL until the spring, Zuber waited until December before deciding to sign a USFL contract presumably waiting out an NFL contract. 

Surviving the Draft 

Zuber not only returned to Houston he was one of the players that ended up back on the roster he began with. The WR/CB looked poised to make an impact on the Roughnecks after making it through the largest cut down. That was until the news broke late last night that Zuber is now a Birmingham Stallion, while Defensive End Carlo Kemp is now with Houston. 

Both of these players were listed as released and claimed on waivers but it seems awfully coincidental that they both changed rosters on the same day and somehow wound up filling the roster spot the other vacated. Joining the Stallions is interesting because they are as deep as it gets at wide receiver with 9 players signed. 

It appears that, Zuber will have to fight his way into the lineup at defensive back in a unit that released three career cornerbacks in Channing Stribling, Mark Milton, and Terrell Bonds. Now they add a very versatile player in Zuber but it remains to be seen what his exact role ends up being. 

Carlo Kemp

Carlo Kemp was apparently placed on waivers although he immediately signed with Houston. This may as well have been a trade as Houston gets Kemp, and Zuber leaves Houston for Birmingham. Kemp joins a loaded pass rush including Adam Rodriguez, Chris Odom, Keonte Schad all three of which finished in the top 3 in sacks once in the USFL over the past two seasons. Collectively this unit now with Kemp have combined for 40 sacks in 2 USFL seasons. 

Chris Orr Retires 

Linebacker Chris Orr has opted to retire, choosing to pursue a coaching position at the college level. He will take the Assistant Linebackers Coach role with Baylor University. The timing of his announcement is strange given that he was initially announced as a part of the 2024 Baylor staff in Mid-February. This opens up a few questions about why he made the decision to retire when he did. 

He will begin his college coaching career with his former Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach at his alma mater Wisconsin, Dave Aranda. Aranda is considered one of the top defensive minds at the collegiate level, but the mentors he will have don’t stop there. Former NFL linebacker Jamar Chaney oversees Inside Linebackers, while Caleb Collins a former collegiate linebacker oversees Outside Linebackers. Matt Powledge is the Defensive Coordinator. 

This isn’t Orr’s first foray into being involved with football in other ways. After being let go by the Carolina Panthers early in 2021 Orr joined Wisconsin as their Director of Player Development. Headed into 2022, Orr made his return to the football field with the USFL at just 24 years old, turning 25 midseason. Orr missed five games in 2022, but played in all 10 during the 2023 season. 

Collectively he retires having played in 18 career games professionally; 3 with the Panthers, and 15 with the Generals. Despite the missed time Orr collected 147 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 1 interception all with the Generals. Turning 27 in June, it’s not entirely unrealistic to think Orr could eventually have a change of heart, but it seems he is content to walk into coaching at a young age and begin climbing the ladder early. 

This leaves one roster spot open for the Stallions currently. Where, how, and IF they use it before the season will be answered in just 16 days. March 30th can’t come quick enough. 

author avatar
Sam Just

Leave a comment

Sign Up Now

Become a member of our online community and get tickets to upcoming matches or sports events faster!
UFL News Hub