The XFL made its return this past weekend over a two-day period with all eight teams in action. Fans were engaged and showed up in big numbers to every game. Each of the four games had at least 12,000 people in attendance. The Houston Roughnecks-St.Louis Guardians game drew the biggest crowd with 24,245 people in attendance.
Three of the four games were competitive, but the players that played in the games drew attention from fans on social media.
Notable XFL Players
A.J. McCarron: The former Alabama quarterback was the 164th pick in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Bengals. He spent eight seasons in the NFL and started five games, including a 2015 wild card playoff game. The 32-year-old has the most experience of all the quarterbacks in the XFL. The St. Louis Battlehawks are hoping he can use that experience to lead them to wins.
Josh Gordon: Believe it or not, Gordon is only 31 years old, but seems like he has lived ten NFL lives. The veteran receiver is on his last football life, and is not clear if he will be able to make a NFL return. He still showed that he is a red zone target this past weekend for the Seattle Sea Dragons. Gordon caught a flip pass from former NFL quarterback Ben DiNucci for his first XFL touchdown. He led the NFL in receiving yards in 2013 and received All-Pro honors before his career spiraled out of control.
Vic Beasley: The Clemson standout was a former top-10 pick of the Falcons in the 2015 NFL draft. He now suits up for the Vegas Vipers, and they are hoping he can get back to what made him a top-10 pick. He led the league in sacks in the 2016 season and helped the Falcons reach the Super Bowl under head coach Dan Quinn. He was the first defensive lineman picked in the XFL draft despite being out of football since 2020.
Martavis Bryant: Before JuJu Smith-Schuster, Bryant was the man playing alongside Antonio Brown in Pittsburgh. He seemed like the perfect fit next to Brown as a big athletic receiver with the ability to take the top off a defense and pick up tough yards on critical third downs. Bryant’s off the field issues has kept him out of football since 2018. He will also be suiting up for the Vipers alongside Beasley.
Other notable XFL players include: quarterback Deondre Francois, quarterback D’Eriq King, quarterback Brett Hundley, punter Marquette King, running back Jah-Maine Martin, offensive lineman Cameron Hunt, and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu (second XFL appearance).
Notable XFL Players to Get Back to the NFL
The XFL shut down in 2020 when the former owner Vince McMahon filed for bankruptcy after making its comeback. The league only operated for five weeks, but 14 players made the most of their opportunity and were signed to NFL squads. The Steelers signed five players, which was the most by any NFL team.
The most notable were quarterback PJ Walker and tight end Donald Parham. Both are still on NFL rosters today and have played in valuable roles for their teams. Walker was even nominated as the people’s choice for throw of the year last season on Twitter.