With the XFL getting a reboot, former NFL players are seeing a chance to take the field again. After a failed first attempt in the early 2000’s, the new professional football league will see eight teams and a new style of football.

Former NFL players are speaking out about the opportunities to play in this new league and the chance to suit up and hit the field again.

Khari Lee was a tight end at Bowie State before being signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He then bounced from the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills before being waived in 2018. Following back on his real estate license, Lee dealt with very few clients who knew of his NFL past.

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“I don’t think they were starstruck,” he said. “I’m a humble guy. I’m not that glaring of a presence. I was out there trying to earn an honest living.”

But when the opportunity to suit up as a DC Defender in the new league came along, he had to take it.

“It feels good seeing it all come to fruition,” he said, “I don’t think you ever lose that chip on your shoulder from being cut in high school, from having to walk on in college, from being an undrafted free agent. Every step of the way, I’ve beaten the odds. So I’m forever grateful.”

Darius Victor knows the same feeling. The former Towson running back was working as a supervisor for a shipping corporation and a sales operation manager for an automotive products company when the chance to play for the New York Guardians came along.

Having played for the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals for a brief time, his football career looked about over. Until the XFL gave him that second chance to hit the field.

“I’m a professional,” he said. “The guys I’m playing with now, I have played with in the NFL and gone against in the NFL. So I don’t really see a difference. The talent level is there. Pretty much the only difference is the scale in terms of how many people are watching and how many people are interested. But it’s football and it’s going to be good football.”

But the big story is that of Landry Jones, who some have said has become the face of the XFL.

The former Oklahoma quarterback sat backup to Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, and never really left that backup spot.

Leaving the NFL, Jones took a job at a construction company driving a dump truck, hauling debris to landfills for minimum wage.

The the XFL came to save him.

Jones was the first player to commit to the league, joining the Dallas Renegades as their quarterback and reuniting with his former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.

With creator Vince McMahon prepared to invest as much as $500 million to see the league succeed, time will tell if the XFL can stand it’s ground in the world of professional sports.

For players like Lee, Victor and Jones, the XFL gives them that second chance to suit up playing in a sport they love.

 

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