Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos compiled by Patsy Collier-Lamar
XFL Football is Back Again
Do you remember XFL football? Most people don't, but the concoction created back in 2001 by World Wrestling Entertainment founder Vince McMahon and survived but one season , has somehow re-appeared with eight new teams albeit mixed emotions about the new league's survival.
It kicked off February 8 with eight teams in eight cities: Dallas (Renegades), DC (Defenders), Houston (Roughnecks), Los Angeles (Wildcats), New York City (Guardians), St Louis (Guardians), Seatlle (Dragons), and Tampa Bay (Vipers)
Some interesting and familiar names have evolved in the player and coaching ranks. Most of them boast prior experiences in the NFL and once piloting major college teams.
In Atlanta, two familiar names have evolved from the coaching ranks. June Jones, a one time Atlanta Falcon quarterback (1977-1981) , also played and coached in the Canadian Football League. Interestingly, his coaching stints in the NFL included one with the Houston Oilers as a assistant under Jerry Glanville. The latter, who was a head coach with the Falcons is now defensive coordinator with the Tampa Vipers. Of the eight XFL coaches, three are African-Americans: Pep Hamilton ( Howard University) is head coach and GM of the Defenders, Winston Moss (MIami) pilots the Wildcats, and Jonathan Hayes, head coach and GM For the Battlehawks.
The first XFL Player draft was held last October and produced 10 players who collegiately excelled at HBCU schools. Those ten include punter Marquette King of Fort Valley State University who played six years with the Oakland Raiders before being cut in 2018, then picked up by the Denver Broncos. His life with the Broncos was short-lived and he was released after four weeks. He is dabbling in show business as an actor but is giving football another stab . He is currently with the Battlehawks and debuted February 9 against Dallas.
Other HBCU players who made XFL rosters are offensive tackle Justin Evans from South Carolina State (Dallas), tight end Khari Lee (Bowie State), and wide receiver Frank Brown (Bethune-Cookman) both with DC, former North Carolina A&T cornerback Deji Olatoye and former Tennessee State offense lineman Demetrius Rhaney (both with Houston), former Grambling Tiger Martez Carter and ex-Alabama State tight end Brandon Barnes (Los Angeles) . In addition to King, the Battlehawks also picked up former Southern University running back Lenard Tillery and former Jackson State wide receiver Daniel Williams was drafted by the Vipers. The league also has what is called "Team 9". It resembles something of a glorified practice squad of players who can be called up by any of the eight teams as substitutes for rostered athletes who become unable to play.
The big question now is will the new league survive or suffer the fate of their predecessors from 2001 or, of late, the Alliance of Professional football (APF) which started out with eight teams in February of last year but after eight weeks of play, went bankrupt. One of those teams was the Atlanta Legends.
The "new" XFL has scheduled ten weeks of football with playoffs commencing April 18 and 19th with a championship game April 28.
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net