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Exclusive: HC Hines Ward, GM Will Lewis Out With Brahmas, HC Phillips & OC Smith In, Full Details

3 Key Points

  • Hines Ward Exits: Declined a reduced pay in the second year, leading to his departure from the Brahmas.
  • Coaching Changes: January 1st marked a pivotal deadline for coaching contracts.
  • New Appointments: AJ Smith steps in as Offensive Coordinator in San Antonio; GM position remains uncertain.

The XFL world has witnessed significant changes recently. Hines Ward, the Super Bowl MVP for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has decided not to continue with the San Antonio Brahmas as their head coach. This decision comes after a change in contract terms, where Ward faced a pay cut in his second season with the league. Instead of accepting this new deal, Ward chose to step away. Sources close XFL News Hub Insider Mike Mitchell confirmed the details.

With Ward stepping away, the door was then open for former Houston Roughnecks Head Coach Wade Phillips, who was still on the second year of his guaranteed contact. Phillips agreed to take the job along with his former Houston Roughnecks Offensive Coordinator AJ Smith. Arlington Renegades Head Coach and XFL Champion Bob Stoops is also on a two year guaranteed contact.

The timing of Ward’s departure is crucial for his coaching staff. Many Brahmas coaches were waiting for January 1st to start their new contracts and start getting paid again. However, just days before this date, Ward’s exit left them in a tough spot, needing to find new jobs quickly.

Several months ago the XFL changed its policy when it comes to teams coaching staffs pay. Head coaches and coordinators were full time, the rest of the staff were seasonal. Now contracts for these coaching roles will be running from January 1st to July 1st. Brahmas staff thought on Jan 1st they would start getting paid again, there were not looking for new positions this whole time. Wards exit left them out to dry.

January 1st is the deadline for XFL coaches to sign their new contracts. We are hearing from sources that the Head Coaches on one year deals were asked to take a pay cut for season two. All signed except for Ward. His decision also impacted Will Lewis, the General Manager (GM) of the Brahmas. This opens the possibility for former Roughnecks’ GM Marc Lillibridge to return. Lillibridge posted is farewell to the XFL and Roughnecks on December 22nd via Twitter. Things have changed quickly but nothing is confirmed as farm as his roll yet.

The new XFL-USFL merged league is expected to make a formal announcement soon, possibly on January 2nd. There’s also strong buzz that the new league name will be the United Football League (UFL). Once the formal announcement takes place, we are hearing from sources that it will be followed by news about team markets, then the draft timeline. The new league will assure fans that previously discontinued franchises will be revived in the future. Whether that is just spin, only time will tell.

The San Antonio Brahmas of the XFL-USFL merged league is undergoing significant shifts leading to kickoff on March 30th. All the players on the roster right now, were picked by Ward and Lewis. How this plays out over the next several days will be interesting.

Many coaches are now on the move, with some notable exits and new faces stepping in. As the league prepares for its next phase, all eyes are on the upcoming announcements and how they will shape the future of the league.

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Mark Perry, a devoted sports journalist and founder of XFL News Hub, has been a key figure in XFL coverage since its 2018 revival. Launching XFL News Hub soon after the league's return announcement, Mark has established the platform as a primary source for comprehensive XFL updates. Renowned for his in-depth knowledge and commitment to sports journalism, Mark actively engages the XFL community, welcoming interactions at

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. 4th&long

    December 29, 2023 at 1:17 am

    Good article and info (lots), the proverbal s### is hitting the fan. Fox Sports finally makes a statement on air; and it does feel like next week may finally be official announcements starting.

    The leagues seemed to keep staff on till the ink drys, not good for players/coaches/employees but not surprising in any merger. Interesting to see what happens next.

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