POSTED 9:03 p.m. EDT; UPDATED 9:34 p.m. EDT, June 28, 2007 MOMENTUM FOR NFL MINOR LEAGUE BUILDS Once upon a time, pro football agent Ron Del Duca wrote an item for this site advocating the replacement of NFL Europe with a true minor league system. More than three years after the fact, reality could be catching up with Del Duca's idea. Under the plan first proposed by Del Duca back in 2004, NFL Europe would be scuttled. In its place, a true NFL minor league would be created, and it would play games in the fall. The system would allow NFL teams to allocate players to the minor league, and call them up as needed. We're now told that a growing number of NFL management types are in favor of launching such a venture. The value is that the players would be able to fully participate in the offseason program, and then get live game reps during football season, at a time when they otherwise would be hanging around and waiting for guys on the 53-man roster to get hurt. The teams would be based in cities that don't currently have NFL teams, and every team would allocate its practice squad to the minor league. With 32 NFL franchises having eight guys on their practice squads, that's 256 players right out of the gates. The rest of the minor league could be made up of guys who have yet to make the cut in the pros, and who otherwise might be fodder for the soon-to-be-former NFL Europa. Eight teams would be an ideal starting point, and the games could be played in the middle of the week. Since Tuesday and Wednesday evenings typically feature no college or pro football broadcasts, a middle-of-the-week television schedule would be ideal. One of the potential barriers to the creation of a true NFL minor league is the reported plan of a new league, the UFL, to drop teams in several non-NFL cities and lure some of the same guys who would otherwise be courted by the NFL's junior circuit. The mere establishment of an NFL minor league could be interpreted as a sign that the NFL is worried about the UFL, and the NFL won't want to create that impression. So while we believe that it's a great idea to develop a true NFL minor league, we think that it won't happen unless and until the coming UFL experiment crashes and burns. In other words, the NFL minor league will launch in 2010.