In our wide-ranging interview with XFL Insider Mike Mitchell, we talked about at which point did the Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck partnership begin to sour. During the months leading up to the season, Luck in interviews always showered McMahon with praise.
When the season began to get closer, you might have noticed that praise seemed to disappear. You never really heard the name McMahon brought up in interviews with Luck. Now we have a timeline of when things began to go south.
“It started before the season happened. Antonio Callaway was signed by the XFL to play for the Tampa Bay Vipers. He was given a hefty signing bonus in the six figures range which was something that was reserved for the Tier 1 quarterbacks. “
The situation with Callaway was one of the three issues McMahon brought up in his letter firing Luck. Luck was let go the day before the XFL ceased operations. Luck is currently suing McMahon for money owed to him.
“McMahon felt that Luck overstepped his bound is signing Calloway. Given him a $125,000 bonus. This was done before the season started. Oliver wanted to drive a little attention to the league and add a talented player.”
Aside from the Tier 1 QB’s in the league, no other players received a signing bonus. All players were paid basically the same weekly pay with bonuses paid to the team that won.
“McMahon was upset about signing. A six-figure signing bonus for a receiver and obviously Calloway’s background didn’t help. So Vince told Oliver Luck to release Calloway.”
Callaway had several off the field drug-related issues in his brief stint with the NFL before signing with the XFL. He later got injured in training camp with the Vipers. Due to insurance issues, the league at that point could not let Callaway go.
Could you imagine the bad press had the XFL signed Callaway then only days later cut him?
Oliver Luck was hired to create and run the league as he saw fit, and he did that well. McMahon was supposed to be the money guy with connections to help the league. It looks like in this situation, the lines of who is in charge got blurred.
You can listen to the full audio here. Mitchell goes into great detail on the demise of the McMahon Luck partnership.