Archive for the ‘XFL’ Category

Former Carolina Panthers running back Rod Smart has been reported as a “missing endangered person” by authorities in South Carolina, according to Andrew Dys of the Rock Hill Herald. He’s been missing for nearly a week, according to authorities.

Smart, 42, was last seen June 12 near Indian Land, S.C., and was driving a silver 2016 Nissan Maxima with the license plate PJR_1759, deputies said. Local police have asked for people to come forward with any information about his whereabouts.

“Family and deputies have concerns about his well-being and safety,” Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Doug Barfield said.

The running back was known for sporting “He Hate Me” on his jersey during the XFL’s lone season in 2001. The football league is set for a reboot in 2020.

Smart then spent four seasons with the Panthers, where he starred primarily as a kick returner. He returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in 2003.

Johnny Manziel is making it known that he isn’t done with football, and he’s hoping for a reunion with coach June Jones on Houston’s XFL team.

Jones was the head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats when Manziel was on the roster.

“Coach Jones is a great guy,” Manziel said Saturday, according to ESPN. “I enjoyed him from an offensive standpoint, from a personal standpoint. He’s been there for me, especially when I was in Hamilton, getting to a new place, a different country. I enjoyed my time with him very thoroughly, and I think it would be a great opportunity.”

The quarterback never started a game under Jones before he was traded to the Montreal Alouettes. He was later released for violating the agreement which made him eligible to play in the CFL.

Manziel’s interest in playing for Houston also stems from its proximity to Texas A&M, where the quarterback won the Heisman Award in 2012.

“It’s a stone’s throw from College Station,” Manziel said. “A lot of Aggies drove from Houston to College Station. Houston’s a great city that’ll always be near and dear to me.”

The 26-year-old played for the Memphis Express in the AAF earlier this year. He was removed during his second game when he suffered a concussion. The AAF ceased operations shortly thereafter.

Jones said he expects Manziel to be in the XFL draft pool and that the former NFL first-round pick “played very good for me” in Hamilton.

“I think I’m in a good place personally. I think I’ve been doing the right things,” Manziel said. “When the opportunity presents itself moving forward, we’ll see how things go.”

The XFL has hired a man familiar with the Tampa Bay area to lead their Florida team. In a press release, it was announced that Josh Bullock was named President of the unnamed Tampa Bay XFL team. 

Since 2018, Bullock was the Senior Associate Director of Athletics and the Senior Director of Development with the University of South Florida. Now in the XFL, he will be in charge of the team’s fan engagement and business operations, working with various departments. The team will operate from Raymond James Stadium. 

“I am excited to join the XFL and play a role in bringing more great football to Tampa Bay,” Bullock stated. “The opportunity to help start a new football franchise was something I couldn’t pass up. I look forward to working alongside Coach Trestman and his staff to build-out our team, and to engage with our community, grow our fan base and create an experience that’s truly authentic to Tampa Bay and the region.”

A University of Kentucky graduate, Bullock was the football teams Athletic Relations Coordinator from 1997-2000. He has held multiple positions in the sports world, serving as General Manager of ISP Sports (now IMG College) at UCF from 2007-2010 and Associate GM for ISP Sports at Virginia Tech from 2004-2007. His experience with a major league sports team comes with his seven years as the Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. 

Bullock joins a team that includes Head Coach and GM Marc Trestman, Offensive Coordinator Jamie Elizondo and Defensive Coordinator Jerry Glanville. The relaunched XFL season is expected to start in February of 2020, just a few days after the Super Bowl.

Defense is a big part of football, and the new XFL is putting a focus on that to their product. The league announced they have signed Pepper Johnson to be the Defensive Coordinator for the unnamed Los Angeles XFL team. 

Another former member of the AAF, Johnson is a multiple-time Super Bowl Champion. Starting his football career with Ohio State, he was drafted in the second round fo the 1986 Draft by the New York Giants. He won two rings as a member of the Giants (Super Bowl XXI and XXV) before playing for the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and New York Jets. Ending his playing career after 1998, Johnson was a two-time Pro Bowler and had over 983 tackles. 

Following his playing days, Johnson joined the New England Patriots as an assistant coach in 2000. Under the leadership of Bill Belichick, Johnson helped the team win three Super Bowls. From 2000-2014 Johnson was an Inside Linebacker, Defensive Line and Linebackers Coach for New England. After leaving the Patriots, Johnson became the Defensive Line Coach for the Buffalo Bills and Jets. He was briefly a member of the AAF’s Memphis Express team before the league shut down.

Johnson joins a Los Angeles team that includes Team President Heather Brooks Kataz and Heach Coach/GM Winston Moss. 

The XFL season is expected to start in February of 2020, just a few days after the Super Bowl.

New XFL coach Kevin Gilbride was known as an offensive leader. One of his former teammates while with the Giants helped him to a Super Bowl. It is only fitting the two were paired up again. 

It was announced this week that Jim Herrmann will be the defensive coordinator for New York’s unnamed XFL team. 

Herrmann, age 58, was a Michigan graduate that assisted the football team from 1985-1996. He then became a defensive coordinator for Michigan from 1997-2005. In his first year as DC, Herrmann helped lead Michigan to an undefeated season and a number one ranking on the AP Poll. As a result, he won the Frank Broyles Award.

Following a few years of Michigan and its defense struggling, Herrmann moved out of college sports and into the NFL’s arms. He became the New York Jets’ linebacker’s coach from 2006-2008 before switching from green to blue. Joining the Giants in 2009, Herrmann helped the team to a Super Bowl victory against the Patriots during the 2011-2012 season. 

After spending a few more years in New York, Herrman spent the 2016-2017 season with the Indianapolis Colts. Before joining the XFL, Herrmann was acting as the linebackers and Associate Head Coach for Bowling Green State University.

The XFL season is expected to start in February of 2020, just a few days after the Super Bowl.

The last head coach for the XFL has finally been announced. June Jones was named the head coach and general manager of the Houston-based XFL team. 

Jones, age 66, has been around football all of his life. His playing career was from 1971 in Oregon to 1982 with the Toronto Argonauts. He starting coaching in 1983 as a QB coach for Hawaii. Jones’ first taste of coaching in the NFL was from 1987-1988 when he was a QB coach for the Houston Oilers. Through the years, Jones was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons (1994-1996) and San Diego Chargers in 1998. His overall NFL record was 22-36. 

“We’re extremely proud to add Coach Jones, a man with four decades in football, as an XFL head coach,” said XFL Commissioner & CEO Oliver Luck in a press release. “June has coached the game in three different pro leagues, including the NFL, as well as major college and high school football. The experience he’s gained at every stop along the way will no doubt serve him well as he helps us reimagine the game and build our Houston team into something special.”

After coaching the NFL, Jones went back to college where he manned the then Hawaii Warriors from 1999-2007. During his first and last year as coach there, he won two WAC Championships. After Hawaii, he coached SMU from 2008-2014. The two-time WAC Coach of the Year was last seen coaching for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. 

“I’ve spent a few years coaching in Houston, and having a chance to return to be a head coach in the XFL is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said Jones. “I had a really great time coaching in the CFL, but this new fresh opportunity to build a team from the ground up is extremely rare in this game, and I’m looking forward to working with Brian Cooper and our coaches to give football fans in Houston a team that’s truly exciting to watch and worthy of their support.” “June Jones is one of the most accomplished and well-known football coaches, and it will be an honor to work side-by-side with him,” said Cooper. “I have no doubt that his love of the game and commitment to excellence on-field will dovetail perfectly with our effort to engage Houston sports fans in new and exciting ways.”

Jones’ team will play inside TDECU Stadium when the XFL season starts in February of 2020. He now joins a coaching list that includes Bob Stoops (Dallas), Winston Moss (Los Angeles), Kevin Gilbride (New York), Jim Zorn (Seattle), Jonathan Hayes (St. Louis), Marc Trestman (Tampa Bay) and Pep Hamilton (Washington D.C.).

As we reported this morning, the XFL announced today that they have reached multiyear agreements with ESPN and Fox Sports to air their games in 2020. The games will air weekly on broadcast TV on ABC and Fox, along with games airing on cable on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2. There will be back-to-back games every Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, along with two games on Sunday afternoons.

Sports Illustrated reports that there will be no rights fees paid by ESPN and FOX. Both networks will hold the streaming rights to games, and they will handle the promotion of the league and ad sales.

“We are thrilled to partner with ESPN and FOX Sports, two innovative media companies with extensive experience in world-class football production that will undoubtedly help us reimagine football,” said XFL Founder and Chairman Vince McMahon. “The XFL broadcast schedule provides us with incredible reach and makes it easy for fans to watch our games consistently every weekend.”

The XFL’s first season since 2001 will launch on Saturday, February 8, 2020, six days after Super Bowl LIV. Two games will air that day, with the first one being on ABC and the night game being broadcast on FOX. 

The XFL Championship game is scheduled to take place on April 26 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.