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Pittsburgh Steelers Blocked Twice From Signing XFL QB’s

In a wide-ranging interview by Tampa Bay Times reporter Thomas Bassinger with XFL Commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck. Luck talked about how the XFL blocked several players from signing with the NFL. In particular the Pittsburgh Steelers.

We reported several weeks ago about the Detroit Lions trying to sign Los Angels Wildcats QB Josh Johnson. The Lions starting QB Matthew Stafford went down with a season-ending injury and the team was looking to sign a veteran with experience. Johnson was part of the Detroit practice squad earlier this year.

Since Johnson had already signed his XFL contract, the league said no.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a similar situation when their star QB Ben Roethlisberger went down with a season-ending injury. Current Dallas Renedages QB Landry Jones was a backup to Roethlisberger for several seasons. The first thing the Steelers did when Ben went down was reach out to the XFL.

“Can Landry come to the Steelers?” “Nope, sorry. He’s ours. We signed him”

Oliver Luck

The Steelers, still in need of a quarterback reach out to the league again. This time asking about Houston Roughnecks QB Phillip Walker.

“We’d like to have Phillip for a week because we’re playing the Ravens and Phillip’s a little bit like Lamar Jackson. We’ll sign him to a one-week contract so we can get accustomed to that kind of quarterback.” We said, “Thanks for the compliment, but we’re not going to let him go.”

Oliver Luck

Luck has made it clear from the start. Once a player signs with the league they are locked in for the season.

“We won’t release that player to the NFL until after our season. We need certainty. We can’t just have guys peeling off.”

Oliver Luck

We highly recommend checking out the rest of the article from the Tampa Bay Times reporter Thomas Bassinger. It reveals what happened to players like Colin Kaepernick, Johnny Manziel and Trent Richardson in the XFL draft. Plus a look at how the XFL plans to officiate the game.

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Mark is the founder and editor of XFL News Hub. The site was started in January of 2018, within days of the announced return of the XFL. Contact him directly by emailing



  1. Charles Biggs

    December 12, 2019 at 8:49 am

    The Steelers deserve what they get. They released Landry Jones because of money, not talent. They wanted cheaper backups and now they are on the edge of the playoffs with a third string free agent (who is actually not that bad). Landry will be a star in the XFL. His days of holding a clipboard for Pittsburgh are over.

  2. Rico Cordero

    December 13, 2019 at 11:29 am

    I don’t know why they’re looking for these XFL quarterbacks when Kaepernick is clearly the best choice for a backup for any team right now!

  3. Beating the bleep out of Tom Kennedy!

    December 13, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Ah, the sweet smells of WAR! Something the AAF couldn’t afford to do. But the XFL still needs top NFL free agents and college graduates if they don’t want ratings to do worse than a test pattern like last time!

  4. Ryan Stoddard

    December 13, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Solid move by the XFL and great response from Luck in both instances. Though I do feel this could be a deterrent to players looking at the XFL as a chance to land in the NFL in the future, sometimes that one week contract connects you with some assistant coach that builds a relationship for a long career in the NFL.

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