Playing in multiple professional football leagues is not an uncommon thing to do. In the late 1940s and into the 1950s, there are a great many players that played in the All American Football Conference (AAFC) and the National Football League. In the 1960s and 1970s, there are a lot of players that spent time in the American Football League (AFL) and the NFL. In the 1970s there are some players who played in the World Football League (WFL) and the NFL. In the 1980s and into the 1990s there are a number of players who appeared on rosters of teams in both the United States Football League (USFL) and the NFL. There are even some players that played in both the XFL and NFL.
Not so often though there will be players that played in three different major professional football leagues. Only two players hold the distinction of appearing in the AAFC, AFL, and NFL during their careers.
Ben Agajanian is regarded as the first player to come into the NFL as a kicking specialist, playing no other position on offense or defense. He went to college at the University of New Mexico and began his professional career in 1945 with the Philadelphia Eagles. He also played for the Pittsburgh Steelers during his rookies season, but the next year was out of football. In 1947 he surfaced with the Los Angeles Dons of the AAFC and played two seasons there before moving on to the New York Giants of the NFL in 1949. 1953 saw him back in Los Angeles, this time kicking for the NFL’s Rams, but the very next season he was back on the roster of the New York Giants where he would remain through the 1957 season. In 1960, Agajanian was back in Los Angeles for a third time, this time with another different team, the Los Angeles Chargers of the AFL. In 1961, he would kick for both the Dallas Texans of the AFL and the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. 1962 saw him see action with the Oakland Raiders of the AFL and then he would finish his professional football career in 1964 as the kicker for the San Diego Chargers. Over the course of 19 years, Ben Agajanian would play 13 seasons of professional football with eight different teams. His final numbers show him attempting 204 field goals, making 104 of them.
Hardy Brown was a standout high school football player in the state of Texas and went on to star at Tulsa University. He began his professional football career playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers of the AAFC in 1948. The next year he would remain in the AAFC, but would be a member of the Chicago Hornets. 1950 would see Brown begin the season with the Baltimore Colts and also play for the Washington Redskins. His greatest stretch of stability came from 1951 through 1955 when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, going to the Pro Bowl in 1952. 1956 was Brown’s last season in the NFL, this time playing for the Chicago Cardinals. Four years later he would come out of retirement to play one season with the AFL’s Denver Broncos in the first year of both the team and the league.