P.J. Walker was the XFL’s first breakout star this spring, and one of its first players to secure an NFL contract after the league shut down. He says he earned that opportunity by playing “real football,” which people might question because, after all, this was Vince McMahon’s league.
Walker says he and every other XFL player was on a mission to get to the NFL or, in his case, get back to it. The former Temple quarterback was with the Colts for parts of three seasons but was limited to the practice squad.
“See, when most people hear XFL, they think of pro wrestling and HE HATE ME jerseys — the stuff everybody remembers from the old XFL’s only previous season, in 2001. The new league that I played in was still owned by Vince McMahon, but there was nothing pro wrestling about it. It was real football,” Walker wrote for The Players’ Tribune.
“Most XFL teams were really, really good. No gimmicks. No controversies. And I felt like the longer the season would’ve gone the better the league would have gotten — more intense, more competitive,” Walker added.
Walker never lost an XFL game; the Roughnecks were 5-0 when play was suspended in March because of the coronavirus outbreak. The league never returned. McMahon declared it bankrupt in April and put it into liquidation.
Now, Walker’s college coach, Matt Rhule, is giving his old quarterback a chance to compete for a backup role with the Panthers.
Walker would love to see lots more XFL alums in NFL uniforms, especially with the NFL expanding team rosters. He believes the league’s talent level was that good.
“That’s why I’m going to miss the XFL something fierce — and why the NFL will, too,” he wrote to close his piece.