The second attempt at XFL football is off and throwing. The league announced the signing of its first quarterback on Thursday, revealed to be NFL veteran and former Oklahoma University standout Landry Jones.
Jones and XFL commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck both made statements in a press release.
“We’re excited to welcome Landry to the XFL as our first player and first quarterback,” Luck said. “He’s an accomplished athlete with outstanding college credentials and pro experience, and his heart and desire to play football epitomizes the type of individual we want in the XFL.”
“I’m looking forward to joining the XFL and playing the game I love,” Jones added. “I can’t wait to suit-up.”
Despite leaving Norman in 2012, Jones remains one of the most illustrious passers in Oklahoma history. He remains the Sooners’ all-time leader in yardage (16,646) and touchdown passes (123). Jones also guided the Sooners to a trio of bowl victories, including the 2011 Fiesta Bowl. He threw for 429 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-20 win over Connecticut.
Jones would go on to be taken in the fourth round of the 2013 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 19 NFL games with five starts, he’d throw for 1,310 yards, eight touchdowns, and seven interceptions. His most notable NFL moment came in the final week of the 2016-17 season. Starting for a resting Ben Roethlisberger, Jones threw for 277 yards and a career-best three touchdowns.
Jones will now play for one of the XFL’s eight squads. New York and Los Angeles are retained from the original incarnation in 2001, while Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Washington D.C. will join the fold. Jones was not immediately signed to one of the squads, but will instead be one of eight quarterbacks chosen prior the league’s draft this fall.
The XFL’s opening weekend is set for February 8-9, 2020, one week after Super Bowl LIV. 2001’s prior version folded after one season due to poor reception and viewership, but involved a few noteworthy names. Tommy Maddox led the Los Angeles Xtreme to victory in the lone Million Dollar Game and later earned the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award with the Steelers a year later. Jeff Brohm played with the Orlando Rage, 16 years before he became the head coach at Purdue.