Week one of The Spring League‘s six-week regular season is underway, and it continues in Houston at Rice Stadium on Friday at 9:30 pm ET on FS1, when the Sea Lions headed up by Larry Kirksey will face the Blues led by Ted Cottrell. And in the marquee matchup of week one, Kevin Gilbride and The Jousters will battle with Bart Andrus and his defending TSL 2020 Championship team, The Generals. It will be the first game in TSL history that airs on Network Television, Saturday afternoon, 3 pm ET on FOX.
One of the familiar themes throughout the Spring League is the number of familiar faces to XFL fans, spread out across all eight teams. Last fall, just months after, the XFL season ended abruptly due to the pandemic. Some XFL coaches and players participated in TSL’s mini-season in San Antonio, and several of them have returned, while some new faces are taking part in the league for the first time.
Life after the XFL halted play in 2020 has been a unique journey for the hundreds of players, coaches, and employees who were a part of the league. Many of them were stuck in career limbo for a time, and some still are, while others have moved on. XFL Alumni have made their way into the college game, several sports leagues, and various other media entities. People like DC Defenders Head Coach Pep Hamilton went straight to the NFL immediately and helped guide Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert to a record-breaking 2020 season and NFL Rookie of the year. While others like Dallas Renegades HC Bob Stoops have decided to test the broadcasting waters at FOX Sports.
TSL is providing opportunities for many of the coaches who roamed the sidelines in the XFL last year. Of the eight teams in the Spring League, seven in total have head coaches who coached in the XFL.
The Jousters- Kevin Gilbride (New York Guardians) The Generals- Bart Andrus (Team 9), The Alphas- Peter Vaas (Team 9), The Blues- Ted Cottrell (Houston Roughnecks Defensive Coordinator), The Sea Lions- Larry Kirksey (Seattle Dragons WR Coach), The Linemen- Hal Mumme (Dallas Renegaders Offensive Coordinator), The Conquerors- Jerry Glanville (Tampa Bay Vipers Defensive Coordinator).
As of press time, there are over 30 former XFL players on NFL rosters and over 80 of them on CFL rosters, while that is a strong number of players who have continued their playing careers in other pro football leagues. There are still many of them who haven’t found a new home. Enter the Spring League, which provides many young players an opportunity to keep their careers going and their pro football playing dreams alive.
Unlike the NFL and CFL, The Spring League is not a clear-cut option for most players. After all, they are not paid. And in some cases, players pay a fee to play in the league. It’s a model that must change in the future if TSL has desires of expanding its talent pool or being a genuine and legitimate league moving forward. For many of the players who played in the XFL, playing in The Spring League is not a realistic option because of the pay structure. Players like former USF standout and Tampa Bay Vipers QB Quinton Flowers turned down their invites to play in TSL because they don’t want to play for free.
The commonly used phrase, “Playing for the love of the game,” has never been truer than for the participating players in The Spring League. While there are some veterans on TSL teams, the majority of their rosters are stacked with players who are very young and don’t have avenues to play anywhere else. It’s not a knock against their playing ability; it’s simply because the avenues to start or continue their pro careers don’t exist. And for the young veterans like the XFL players listed below, TSL is their only option to advance their careers and keep their dream alive. Getting playing time and exposure by playing on FOX is the drawing card for all of these players. Consider it a six-week audition.
Here is a list of the former XFL players participating in The Spring League by position. All of these players were a part of the XFL in some form of fashion. On either an active roster, training camp roster, or Team 9, the league’s reserve squad. All totaled, there are 40 former XFL players on TSL rosters.
As of press time, Former Dallas Renegades QB Eric Dungey, who was initially slated to play for the Blues, has decided to accept an invite and take the opportunity to try out at the Cincinnati Bengals rookie minicamp this coming weekend. It’s the type of workout that many of the players listed below hope come their way as well. For some of the players, this might be their last chance to make it happen.
Jousters- Luis Perez (New York Guardians), Conquerors- Brandon Silvers (Seattle Dragons), Sea Lions- Nick Fitzgerald (St. Louis BattleHawks), Alphas- Vad Lee (DC Defenders), Generals- De’Vante Kincade (Team 9)
Sea Lions- Matt Jones (St. Louis BattleHawks), Jousters- Lavon Coleman (Seattle Dragons), Generals- Darnell Holland (Team 9)
Linemen- Reece Horn (Tampa Bay Vipers), Alphas- Jawill Davis (Tampa Bay Vipers), Jousters- Tyler Palka (DC Defenders)
Jousters- DeQuan Hampton (Los Angeles Wildcats), Alphas- Gabe Holmes (St. Louis BattleHawks), Jousters- Donnie Ernsberger (DC Defenders), Aviators- Dimitrios Tsesmetzis (DC Defenders)
Jousters- Damien Mama (New York Guardians), Conquerors- Robert Myers (Seattle Dragons), Blues- Dwayne Wallace (Los Angeles Wildcats), Conquerors- John Yarbrough (Tampa Bay Vipers), Alphas- Kristjan Sokoli (DC Defenders), Blues- Tyler Roemer (Los Angeles Wildcats) Conquerors- Anthony Morris (Los Angeles Wildcats) Jousters- Tejan Koroma (Houston Roughnecks) Generals- Sean Brown (Los Angeles Wildcats) Linemen- Cole Boozer (DC Defenders)
Linemen- Elijah Qualls (DC Defenders), Jousters- Bunmi Rotimi (New York Guardians), Jousters- Tomasi Laulile (Dallas Renegades)
Jousters- Nyles Morgan (Seattle Dragons), Aviators- Ty Schwab (Houston Roughnecks)
Jousters- Derrick Jones (Seattle Dragons), Jousters- AJ Hendy (New York Guardians), Jousters- DeJuan Neal (New York Guardians), Aviators- Roman Tatum (Los Angeles Wildcats), Linemen- Reggie Cole (DC Defenders), Conquerors- Robenson Therezie (Tampa Bay Vipers), Sea Lions- Tyson Graham Jr. (Seattle Dragons), Jousters- Will Likely (DC Defenders), Conquerors- Prince Charles Iworah (Team 9)
Jousters Punter- Colton Schmidt (Los Angeles Wildcats)
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