Thursday Night Football, Bengals-Ravens, a Divisional Matchup poised to entertain fans around the world with two young stars in Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson under center for their respective teams. While everything seemed to go to plan for the first quarter and change of the game, Bengals fans held their breathe when their franchise QB came out of the game with an apparent hand/wrist injury. About 12 Hours later he reported to be done for the season with a torn ligament in his wrist.
With Burrow now looking to head to injured reserve, it is only inevitable that XFL Fan Favorite and Battlehawks QB1 will receive an elevation to backup 2019 UDFA Jake Browning. While many know A.J,’s backstory the success in college, his love for his family, fans of the XFL still were holding out hope that one of the “faces” of the league would return in 2024.
It may be ironic that some 8 years later McCarron may be called upon to lead Bengals to the Playoffs should Browning not play up to standard. McCarron who if not for a penalty in a 2015 Playoff Game vs Steelers may have given Head Coach Marvin Lewis is first playoff victory during the Bengals “Andy Dalton Era”. While McCarron has never had the extended playing time in the NFL since the 2015, his recent 2023 season in the XFL should give Bengals fans hope moving forward.
McCarron in Nine games set the XFL record for Passing Touchdowns with 24, while also winning the heart of St. Louis a city that has been scorned of a Football team between the Rams leaving and the XFL in 2020 ceasing operations. McCarron’s leadership, enthusiasm for St. Louis, and skillset will be missed if the former Alabama QB does choose to stay in the NFL rather than return to the Dome for 2024.
While many may be concerned about the state of the Battlehawks QB room Coach Anthony Becht has been extremely vocal about his confidence in Nick Tiano and Manny Wilkins. Tiano stepped in nicely for St. Louis during a thrilling overtime victory for the Vipers, while Wilkins had not taken a snap in the XFL after his time with Packers in 2019. The Battlehawks also have Vincent Testaverde Jr. on the roster as well.
Regardless of McCarron’s future with the Battlehawks, fans will applaud the fact that they were able to see one of the sports most decorated Quarterbacks compete at a high level once more. While McCarron playing would ultimately mean that another “longshot” QB in Jake Browning failed, the fact that he was able to return to the NFL after his injury in 2021 while reinvigorating his career with Battlehawks will always be inspiring.
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