- The Washington Times - Monday, April 18, 2022

De’Veon Smith was caught red (sauce) handed. 

The USFL debuted this past weekend with positive reviews. The revamped football league got solid ratings on its opening day (3.5 million viewers across all platforms), and fans enjoyed the hard hits, the fan-friendly rules and the brand new helmet camera. 

But the most viral moment of the new league so far happened on Monday, when video was shared on social media of a running back being cut by a USFL team for the apparently inexcusable crime of wanting pizza instead of chicken salad.

The video was originally aired on the “United By Football: A Season in the USFL” documentary that was released on Saturday. The “Hard Knocks”-esque show included the clip that some thought was too stunning to be real. 

Maulers coach Kirby Wilson told Smith, a former University of Michigan running back, that his decision to request pizza instead of chicken salad from the team hotel was the reason he was being released. 

Smith wasn’t even able to give Wilson a pizza his mind, as the Maulers coach made it clear that he “crossed the line.”

“He crossed the line, so we had to deal with it,” Wilson said. “Any disrespect of football or members of staff, USFL, etc. will not be tolerated.”

Thankfully for the rest of America, infatuation with pizza is not a fireable offense. 

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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