Ex-Bills TE Earning NFL Comeback Buzz After Monster UFL Season

Sternberger Washington

Getty Jace Sternberger #87 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after a first down reception during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on November 01, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

By the time his short summer stint with the Buffalo Bills came to an end last year, tight end Jace Sternberger was already on his way out of the NFL.

The former third-round pick failed to carve out a significant role in his two seasons with the Green Bay Packers, then bounced around the NFL before signing with the Bills last summer and ultimately missing the final roster cut.

But Sternberger turned around his fortunes in the UFL, earning All-UFL honors in the league’s inaugural season and sparking some buzz about a potential return to the NFL.

Jace Sternberger’s Short Stint in Buffalo

Sternberger was drafted by the Packers in 2019 but made little impact until his second season, when he made 12 catches for 114 yards and one touchdown. Sternberger spent time with a series of other teams after that, never making an active roster. He then had a standout season with the USFL’s Birmingham Stallions in 2023 where he set a league record with seven touchdown receptions.

Sternberger signed with the Bills just before the start of training camp in 2023, but was released in late August. The Bills had a crowded tight end room, with rookie Dalton Kincaid playing alongside Dawson Knox, and Sternberger was unable to impress the team enough to earn a spot on the practice squad.

Sternberger returned to the Stallions and had another standout season in 2024 in the UFL — a merged league combining the USFL and XFL — and earned all-league honors for the second straight year. The tight end helped lead his team to a second straight title, making four receptions for 19 yards in his team’s 25-0 victory over the San Antonio Brahmas.

Return to NFL Could Be in Sight

Sternberger is starting to earn some buzz about a return to the NFL, a path that several other USFL and UFL players have already followed. Brandon Olsen of SI.com’s Giants Country pegged Sternberger as a potential candidate to join the New York Giants

“Sternberger was the leading receiver for the Birmingham Stallions with Adrian Martinez this year after leading the USFL in receiving touchdowns in 2023,” Olsen wrote.

“The Giants might be looking to replace Darren Waller if he retires. Sternberger is a move tight end who will be 28 years old at the start of the season and has NFL experience.”

The 27-year-old has also spoken about his desire to return to the NFL. He said in an interview with David Nuno of TexAgs last year that he was glad for his opportunity to play and believed he had the talent to return.

“I remember all the things people said during the 18 months I wasn’t playing. I always appreciate the love and support, but some of the people reaching out now weren’t there in those months,” Sternberger said. “Those months were rough times for me. It has never been a talent issue for me. It is all about the scheme and fit.”

Some players have already used the spring football leagues as a springboard into the NFL, including Stallions kicker Brandon Aubrey who earned a roster spot with the Dallas Cowboys.

Read More