Shea Patterson, first overall pick in USFL draft, released by Michigan Panthers

·2 min read

Michigan football fans who had adopted the Michigan Panthers due to their familiar quarterback, Shea Patterson, will have a new rooting interest this week: Patterson was released by the Panthers and claimed off waivers by the New Orleans Breakers.

Of course, if they stick with the Panthers, they won’t have to wait long to see Patterson in his new duds: The Panthers and Breakers play on FS1 at 9 p.m. ET Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama.

After starting the 2022 USFL season 1-5 with an intermittent passing game, the Panthers apparently felt they needed a change under center Wednesday. The team, which is led by longtime NFL head coach Jeff Fisher, announced its cut of the former Wolverines quarterback via Twitter, along with the release of safety Orion Stewart.

Patterson was the No. 1 overall pick in the USFL draft earlier this year. Before his release, Patterson had passed for 973 yards, third-most in the league. He also rushed for 171 yards in the Panthers' occasionally run-heavy offense.

The USFL has a 'Jeff Fisher Rule.': It's an example of spring football league adjusting on fly.

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Just two weeks ago, Patterson completed 27 of 34 passes for 304 yards in a Panthers loss. On Saturday, though, Patterson struggled in the first quarter, going 3-for-7 for 13 yards before a lightning alert halted the game. After play resumed, Patterson went 21-for-28 for 186 yards and a touchdown. But Patterson also had a costly interception, which was deflected by a defensive lineman into the hands of a Birmingham Stallions defensive end in the fourth quarter.

Shea Patterson has been claimed by the New Orleans Breakers after he was released by the Michigan Panthers.
Shea Patterson has been claimed by the New Orleans Breakers after he was released by the Michigan Panthers.

Patterson entered the season with competition at QB from Paxton Lynch, the former Memphis star who was previously a first-round pick by the NFL's Denver Broncos. But Lynch was injured early in the USFL season, leaving Patterson with little competition. The Panthers claimed quarterback Josh Love off waivers from the Pittsburgh Maulers before Week 5’s games, another one-win team in the USFL. He threw for 440 yards and two touchdowns with the Maulers, but has yet to see action with the Panthers.

Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: USFL news: No. 1 pick Shea Patterson released by Michigan Panthers