COLLEGE PARK, Md (DC News Now) — On Friday, the University of Maryland held the first of six XFL Showcases in the Jones-Hill House.
Athletes from all over the DMV came to the Maryland football indoor practice facility to show off their talents to the XFL scouts and coaches in hopes to be drafted into the league later this year. The XFL was recently started back up when actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson became the new owner. The league returns with a simple goal in mind.
“Give the athletes an opportunity,” said XFL President Russ Brandon. “The opportunity for athletes to flourish, play more football, and be around great coaching.”
“We are the league of opportunity,” said XFL Executive Vice President of Player Personnel Marc Ross. “These showcases provide these opportunities for these young men.”
Among the XFL coaches present was longtime NFL coach Wade Phillips, Hall of Fame cornerback Rod Woodson, and former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward. All the coaches bring with them decades of experience either coaching or playing at the highest level.
“The great thing about it, being a former player, is that I now get an opportunity to help these kids,” said Hines Ward. “To really help develop them, not just only in football, but in life.”
Development is something that football, as a sport in the highest level, has lacked. Sports such as baseball have opportunities for players to develop, and for the NFL to partner with the XFL to give that platform, is big for the game.
“Seeing the players come through, having another platform so they can hone their skills, it is a place of importance,” said Rod Woodson.
“You get to show people that, hey, I might have been out of football a little bit, but I got an opportunity to get back, and this is what I can do,” said Wade Phillips.
The XFL will have five more showcases throughout the United States in the upcoming weeks. The XFL Draft will take place later this year, with the season officially set to start on February 18, 2023.