Dave Lapham was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals before joining the New Jersey Generals in 1984. Lapham joined the Generals because Trump gave the veteran offensive lineman a 10-year guaranteed personal services contract. “I looked at the move as a business decision for my family,” says Lapham. “I was a veteran player, so I was year-to-year at that point with the Bengals.”
After the ’83 season in Cincinnati, Lapham, along with teammate LB LeClaire joined a Generals team that was filled with former NFL players: QB Brian Sipe, DB Gary Barbero, Willie Harper and LB Leopold.
“I thought the talent was real good; sometimes the depth wasn’t as strong as the NFL yet,” says Lapham. Ironically, Harper, LeClaire, Leopold and Lapham all played in Super Bowl XVI two years earlier. Not only were bona-fide veterans like Bills’ running back Joe Cribbs jumping ship, but players that were considered “borderline” by NFL teams had a chance to prove themselves. “The USFL created a venue for players who were the last cuts in the NFL,” says Lapham, spent 10 years in the NFL before coming to New Jersey.