There’s plenty of quotes about failing, then trying again. Such as “If at first you don’t succeed. Try, try, try again.” (Edward Hickson’s Moral Song, 1857). There is one sports company that is now on their third try after failing on the first two. That would be the XFL. Once run by former WWE Chairman Vince McMahon (2001), during its first and only season under his leadership. The third time, will hopefully, be the charm when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s version of the league comes back next February.
While the XFL may consist mostly of a ragtag group of guys, that just didn’t have what it took to get drafted, or last in the NFL. There are some names on every team that you may recall. Whether they be guys who recently fell out of the NFL, or guys who have been trying to make a comeback for years. The league has some guys that will be worth changing the channel to tune in to their games.
Here are 4 guys who you might recall/should watch out for come February.
Beasley, a former top 10 pick (2015) out of Clemson, spent 7 years in the NFL with 3 teams. The Falcons (’15-’19), the Titans (2020) and the Raiders (2020). During his lone All-Pro/Pro Bowl season(2016), the Georgia native led the league in Sacks (15.5). Having not played in a league in almost 3 years, it will be interesting to see what kind of form Beasley is back to. Is he back to that 2016 version of himself? Or will he show that he was just a longer version of a “flash in the pan”.
I, for one, am hoping we can see him put the B-e-a-s back in “Beast” and maybe get another shot at the NFL.
Sticking on the same team, but moving to the offensive side of the ball. Bryant, also a former Clemson Tiger, had a hard time staying out of trouble during his recent 5 year stint in the NFL (2014-18). The 30-year old started out his 2015 rookie season suspended 4 games for violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy. Which was then followed up by a year-long suspension for the 2016 season. Made it through 2017 without a suspension, only to be suspended again near the end of the 2018 season. This time indefinitely.
Since his time away from the NFL, Bryant signed but never played with the Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Elks of the Canadian Football League (CFL). After having played barely half the amount of games in 5 years, that he would have had Bryant played a full season, Vegas is hoping he doesn’t give them any trouble. With his track record, I’m thinking they shouldn’t hold their breath. But I am hopeful he showcases his talent and turns it around off the field.
I know it might seem odd to see a Punter on this list. But King, is different from most other punters. Everyone celebrates after a touchdown or a big tackle etc., But not many would celebrate after a good punt. At least not in the way that King, a former un-drafted free agent, would. Any good punt, which most were, would be followed by a dance or something of that nature. Which is what made him somewhat of a sports social media “star”.
But it wasn’t just the eccentricity that followed his punts, that got him noticed. King was one of the top punters during the majority of his time in the NFL (2013-18). Averaging 46.7 yards/punt during his career. Including leading the league in his rookie year with 48.9 yards/punt and total punt yards in 2014 (4,930). The now 34 year-old King may or may not have the same boot he did a few years ago. But i’m sure we will still see the punt celebrations, which could bring ratings for the XFL.
4. AJ McCarron, QB, St. Louis Battlehawks
A former three-time National Champion (two as a starter) at the University of Alabama, McCarron’s time in the NFL lasted 6 years (2015-20). But only amassed 4 starts under center between 3 teams (CIN, OAK, HOU).
Honestly, I remember the “controversy” surrounding Brent Musburger’s comments about McCarron’s now wife, during the 2013 BCS National Championship game. More than I remember McCarron’s NFL career. Which with the aforementioned 4 starts, isn’t surprising. Alabama QBs besides Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagavailoa and Patriots QB Mac Jones, have had a hard time making it in professional leagues (NFL, XFL, etc.,). Will McCarron put his name next to Tua and Mac? Or stay as he is? Time will tell, and I will be intrigued to see.
The four guys mentioned above should give the XFL some extra viewership for at least the first couple weeks. While fans figure out if it’s worth their time or not. “The Rock” is a great actor and was a great wrestler. Not only am I intrigued to see if the guys above still have the talent, but also if Dwayne Johnson can be a successful Sports League Owner.