The XFL reboot officially kicks off at 2 PM Eastern Time as the Seattle Dragons will take on the DC Defenders. Vince McMahon’s venture will hope to succeed where the AAF failed and will be broadcast on ABC and Fox.
It is unlikely that the XFL 2.0 will quite as raunchy as the first go around, but it should be entertaining nonetheless. The AAF held the interest of football fans for a brief moment before fading hard. If there was a silver lining for the AAF, it was that America still loves football just as much as ever before. The idea of spring football is still very appealing to fans and there is certainly a market for an NFL development league. If McMahon can execute properly, the XFL could certainly succeed.
Of course, there will be plenty of former NFL players suiting up for the XFL this weekend. Former NFL head coaches also have jobs with the XFL, including former Bears head coach Marc Trestman. Several AAF players landed deals with the NFL following solid performance, including Greg Ward. The same will likely be true for the XFL and several veterans, as well as college players who couldn’t find NFL work, will be hungry.
Here are 15 former NFL players who will be playing in the XFL this weekend.
Former Steelers Quarterback Landry Jones will be reunited with his former college coach Bob Stoops on the Dallas Renegades. Jones – 31 in April – last appeared in the NFL in 2017 with Piitsburgh. He started one game that season as the Steelers opted to rest their starters.
All told, Jones has a career QBR of 86.8, has thrown 8 touchdowns against 7 picks and is 3-2 as an NFL starter. Brendan Meyer of ESPN had a fantastic article about the path to the XFL for Jones.
Former Penn State QB Matt McGloin is under contract with the New York Guardians. 30 years old, McGloin hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016. He had a brief stint as the Raiders starter after coming into the league as an undrafted free agent.
McGloin was last in camp with the Eagles and will look to impress NFL teams with the XFL. He has completed 58.1 % of his NFL passes.
Connor Cook played just one game with the Raiders back in 2016 after being drafted in the fourth round. A Former Michigan State QB, Cook was a once highly regarded QB prospect and is just 27 years old.
Cook was drafted in the first round of the XFL draft and will be starting for the Houston Roughnecks.
Running-back Christine Michael last appeared in the NFL with the Colts in 2018, playing one game. Before that, he was in the Seahawks backfield mix from 2013-2015. He has started 9 NFL games all together.
Michael was drafted by the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks and should be seeing a fair share of carries with them.
Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for five NFL touchdowns between 2015-18 with the Panthers. An Auburn product, Artis-Payne was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft. At 29, Artis-Payne will hope to impress in the XFL.
Once touted as the replacement to Darren Sproles, Pumphrey was never able to break into a crowded Eagles backfield. After multiple seasons of trying and failing to make the Eagles roster, Pumphrey called it quits and will be getting an XFL look.
Pumphrey is an interesting XFL player to watch since he never really got a chance to play at the NFL level. Standing at just 5’8, Pumphrey is only 25.
Antonio Callaway was cut by the Browns following repeated off the field issues, including showing up to practice late. The move came as somewhat of a shock given the promise Callaway showed in his rookie year. Still only 23, Callaway has already hauled in 51 passes at the NFL level.
Callaway suffered a leg injury in practice and will likely start the season on the shelf for the XFL’s Tampa Bay franchise. If the former Florida Gator can produce, he stands a good chance at returning to the NFL.
Rashad Ross initially had an NFL run with the Redskins before great success in the AAF last year. Ross was arguably the best receiver in the AAF and turned that into a 2019 NFL contract with the Panthers. He is now back at it in the XFL with the DC Defenders.
Though he didn’t stick in Carolina, Ross has already shown that he can play well at this level of competition. He will hope to build off that and get back to the NFL.
A former Steelers third round pick, Sammie Coates failed to catch on in the NFL and will be looking to get back on track. 27 in March, Coates will be playing in the XFL with the Houston Roughnecks.
A speedster, Coates has hauled in 29 NFL passes and played college ball at Auburn.
Kony Ealy, DE
Kony Ealy has started 19 NFL games in his career between the Panthers and Jets. A former second round pick, Ealy will be suiting up for the Houston roughnecks this weekend. Ealy has 15 NFL sacks to his name and will be looking to get back for more.
Kony 2012 jokes are back on the table ladies and gentlemen.
Jay Bromley, DT
Drafted in the third round of the NFL draft, Jay Bromley played in 55 games with the Giants between 2014-18. He then signed with the Saints but his season was cut short following a biceps injury. After failing to latch on with the 49ers, Bromley will try his hand at the XFL.
Just 27 years old, Bromley will be with the DC Defenders.
Derron Smith, Safety
Like Rashad Ross, Derron Smith is another accomplished AAF veteran. He led the San Antonio commanders in tackles for the team’s lone season. Smith also played in 38 NFL games between 2015-17 with the Bengals and Browns.
Smith, who just turned 28, is signed with the XFL’s Dallas Renegades.
Rahim Moore, Safety
Former Broncos safety Rahim Moore hasn’t appeared in the NFL since 2015. All together, the former second round NFL draft pick racked up 9 interceptions and started 54 games.
Moore played in the AAF with the Arizona Hotshots last year and will be back in spring football action with the DC Defenders.
Will Sutton, DT
Will Sutton was drafted by the Bears in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He ultimately played in 36 NFL games and combined for 60 tackles. He hasn’t seen NFL action since 2016 but was a teammate of Rahim Moore with the Arizona Hotshots.
At 28, Sutton will be playing with the Seattle Dragons in the XFL.
Steve Williams, CB
Former Chargers fifth round pick Steve Williams is currently signed to the Seattle Dragons. Williams – who played college ball for California – played in 33 NFL games between 2014-16. He has two picks and two forced fumbles while combining for 48 tackles.