The D.C. Defenders have placed WR K.D. Cannon (knee) on Reserved/Injured. They have also added LS Brett DioGuardi (No. 40), WR Josh Malone (No. 81), and DT Caraun Reid (No. 97) to the team’s active roster. Just two weeks before the XFL 2023 season arrives.
D.C. Defenders See Significant Changes At Wide Receiver
Per XFL rules provided by the league, if a team places a player on their reserved injured list. That player can return to play if healthy, but it will have to be with another squad in the league.
K.D. Cannon is the second wide receiver that D.C. has placed on their reserve/injured list. Joining WR Jazz Ferguson (hamstring). The injuries are not believed to be season-ending for both players. But the timing is unfortunate for both league hopefuls. The two veterans were considered potential opening-day starters for the Defenders, but a lot has changed in the last two weeks.
The injuries to Cannon and Ferguson have effectively ended their run with the Defenders.
K.D. Cannon Exits D.C.
K.D. In November, Cannon was the Defenders’ third selection in the offensive skill portion of the XFL Draft. The former Baylor standout, 27, has had a rough journey as a pro since starring for the Bears. The All-Big 12 pass catcher has been with five NFL teams since 2017. He has also been a part of a CFL, Indoor Football League team, and was in the XFL three years ago with Seattle and L.A.
One of the more recognizable players in XFL 2023. Cannon hasn’t been able to live up to his collegiate exploits in the pros. Unfortunately, his redemption arc in 2023 is going to be delayed.
New D.C. Defenders WR Additions
Recently, the Defenders have added NFL veteran wide receiver Chad Hansen and Alcorn State standout Chris Blair, who spent time as a rookie with the Green Bay Packers in 2022.
Lucky Jackson, Jequez Ezzard, and Josh Hammond also figure into the Defenders receiving mix. Based on their pedigree and draft status.
But all bets are off during the final stages of training camp. Such is life for pro football players; there are no guarantees of making a roster.
XFL Final cuts will arrive on February 9th. Ten days before the Defenders’ season opener at Audi Field against Seattle. But nothing about the player cutdown process or in football is ever final regarding roster movement.
The latest addition at receiver for D.C. is a significant one in veteran NFL receiver Josh Malone.
D.C. Defenders Sign WR Josh Malone
Despite the XFL season being only two weeks away, NFL veteran wideout Josh Malone has a significant shot at starting for D.C. when the Defenders play the Dragons on ESPN Sunday Night, February 19th.
The Tennesee Volunteers standout rode a fantastic junior season in college (972 yards, 19 yards a catch with 11 touchdowns in 13 games) into the pros. Malone’s starring turn with the Vols led to him being drafted by The Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Malone’s breakout junior campaign, coupled with his favorable measurables, 6’3 205, with a 4.40 time in the 40-yard dash, made him a darling for NFL scouts.
However, Malone would join a crowded Bengals receiving room that featured standouts like A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. As a result, like most star college receivers who don’t find immediate starting positions, Malone was relegated to special teams duty in Cincinnati. He did start several games as a rookie but was an afterthought in the Bengals’ passing offense.
Since his early days with Cincy, Malone has primarily spent time on practice squads. After playing for the Bengals for three seasons. He has bounced around on and off practice squads with the New York Jets, Denver Broncos, and Green Bay Packers.
Josh Malone had two stints this past NFL season on the practice squad of the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Playing time has been hard to come by for the 26-year-old Malone, with only 11 career receptions, 91 yards, and a score on his career ledger. The XFL and D.C. Defenders will give Josh Malone a chance to shine again with real playing time.
D.C. Defenders Add NFL Veteran DT Caraun Reid To Gregg Williams Defense
Caraun Reid, 31, is among the more seasoned pro veterans to join the XFL. The Bronx, New York native and Princeton standout rode a brilliant academic (no surprise) and collegiate career into the NFL as a fifth-round selection by the Detroit Lions in 2014.
The 6’2 292 pound Ivy leaguer has a ton of experience playing on multiple fronts during his pro career. Reid has been with eight NFL teams in the last eight years, playing in 55 games, with 16 starts under his belt. He has 55 career NFL tackles, and 3.5 sacks, to go along with two defensive touchdowns.
Because the Defenders plan to play a multiple-styled defense under coordinator Gregg Williams, Reid seems like a perfect fit to play at the defensive end spot in the 3-4 or to slide inside in the 4-3. His experience as a pro is an asset for many of D.C.’s younger players, who are attempting to learn how to conduct themselves as professionals during an entire season.
Shake-Up Continues On Defenders Special Teams
Defenders Director of Player Personnel Von Hutchins continues to fine-tune D.C.’s group of specialists. The team has added NFL veteran kicker Matthew McCrane and shifted Daniel Whelan back to punter while releasing vet Jacob Schum.
The latest transaction sees D.C. add Florida long-snapper Brett DioGuardi. The five-star ranked long snapper (yes, there’s such a thing) and Windermere native was an All-SEC player for the Gators. But finding a job in the pros is always a long shot for long snappers. DioGuardi was a part of the XFL’s specialists showcase last October, a joint effort with pro veteran/trainer Nick Novak.
The Defenders have two long snappers on their active roster as of press time, and DioGuardi joins Erik Lawson. But that will change at final cuts next week, if not in the coming hours or days. As of this article, the Defenders have 74 players on their active roster. But the situation is fluid.
- Update: On Sunday morning, The D.C. Defenders announced the release of LS Erik Lawson, and DT Rod Henderson.
It’s nearly go time for D.C. and all eight XFL teams. The countdown is on until kickoff.
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