CANTON, Ohio — Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Deon Cain made his mark in the 2023 USFL Championship Game, winning MVP honors as the Birmingham Stallions defeated the Pittsburgh Maulers, 28-12.
Cain was the favored target of Birmingham quarterback Alex McGough, hauling in four passes — three of them for touchdowns — for 70 yards to lead all receivers on either team in the title game.
His final touchdown, a 40-yarder, sealed the win for Birmingham, over the Maulers’ USFL-best defense.
An amazing play from Alex McGough to Deon Cain for Cain’s third TD of the game seals a 2nd consecutive USFL title for the Birmingham Stallions 🔥 pic.twitter.com/q6L3CtJBIn
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) July 2, 2023
Cain had eight catches for 74 yards in the Stallions’ South Division playoff game. In eight regular-season games with the Stallions, he had 16 catches for 182 yards and two scores.
“They figured out the right plan for me to help this football team win,” Cain said. “They helped me in the right way, embraced me, and let me shine the best way I could. I’m just grateful to have these guys behind me to help me lead the way.“
Originally a sixth round pick of the Indianapolis Colts out of Clemson in 2018, Cain has bounced around the NFL. A torn ACL cost him his rookie season with the Colts. In 2019, he was waived by Indianapolis, placed on the practice squad, and then signed by the Steelers.
He played seven games with the Colts, catching 14 passes for 52 yards, and six with the Steelers, hauling in five grabs for 72 yards.
Cain spent all of the 2020 season on the Steelers’ practice squad, and was elevated to the active roster twice, on Oct. 18 and Jan. 3, both against the Cleveland Browns. He did not have a catch in either game.
That Week 17 game in Cleveland was the last competitive game for Cain before 2023 USFL season. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens for 2021, but was placed on injured reserve before the season. He was released from the IR and caught on with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he spent the rest of the season on the practice squad.
Last fall, he once again was cut by the Eagles and added to the practice squad, but was released on Oct. 31. He signed with Birmingham on March 8.
Cain and the rest of the USFL players will now be free agents and can pursue contracts with NFL teams this summer.
“Really just trying to keep going, keeping my best foot forward,” Cain said. “I was blessed with an opportunity to come to the USFL to showcase my talent.”
Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Canton.