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XFL 2023: Two More Houston Roughnecks Players Move Up To NFL, New Kicker Acquired

The string of Roughnecks players heading to the NFL continued this week, with two more individuals moving up to the next level. Additionally, the team added a new specialist to the roster, which will be covered here as well.

The first player who signed an NFL contract this week wasn’t just one of the most notable names on the Roughnecks roster, but across the XFL as a whole. Wide receiver Jontre Kirklin, who caught 15 passes for 253 yards and 4 touchdowns before suffering an injury in week five, inked a deal with the New Orleans Saints. Given that Kirklin is a Louisiana native and spent his college days at LSU, this is a perfect fit. Prior to the Saints showing interest, Kirklin had also worked out with the New York Giants.

The second player to sign an NFL contract was linebacker Charles Wiley, who had a much smaller role with the Roughnecks than Kirklin. Wiley appeared in 7 games for Houston during the 2023 season, recording 6 total tackles and a sack. Prior to his time in the XFL, Wiley joined the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2022, having played college football at UTSA. He has now moved on to the Cleveland Browns, where he will look to get some reps in the preseason. 

Finally, the Roughnecks acquired rights to kicker Matt Ammendola, who spent time with six NFL teams over the past two seasons. Initially undrafted out of Oklahoma State in 2020, Ammendola signed with the Carolina Panthers in early 2021, but was released before training camp. He then joined the New York Jets, appearing in 11 games during the 2021 season and making 13 field goals on 19 attempts. After a brief stint with the Houston Texans to start 2022, Ammendola appeared in games for both the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals as an injury replacement. Most recently, he was with the Green Bay Packers on their practice squad, joining former USFL kicker Ramiz Ahmed. 

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Football journalist/scout/future coach covering the Houston Roughnecks. Air Raid/Run-and-Shoot enthusiast.

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