When the Buccaneers introduced new video boards at Raymond James Stadium in 2016, who could have imagined that those screens would one day flash the letters X-F-L?
That day came Saturday, when the restarted startup spring football league held its “Summer Showcase,” an NFL combine-like event that worked out about 150 prospects.
Former USF quarterback B.J. Daniels, former USF safety Devin Abraham, former Armwood and UF running back Matt Jones and former Jesuit quarterback Vinny Testaverde Jr. were among the players the league invited. Quarterback Ryan Mallett, who played in the NFL from 2011 to 2017, also was in attendance. His last stop was in Baltimore, where Marc Trestman, the coach of the Tampa Bay XFL team, was the offensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016.
The XFL has held showcases in six other cities: Dallas, Houston, New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Seattle. St. Louis will host the final one in two weeks. After the showcases, the XFL will begin signing players, who will then be eligible for the league’s draft in mid October.
Daniels, who made stops in San Francisco, Seattle and Houston for the NFL and in Salt Lake for the Alliance of American Football, said he would welcome the chance to play football again in Tampa.
“I had the opportunity to come to Tampa as a young kid and grow here,” he said. “To come back to this community, be around the same fans, the same friends and family, that’d be amazing. I have family that hasn’t had the opportunity to watch me play professional sports before. … If I could be here in Tampa and people could just hop in the car and drive a couple of hours and come see me, that’d be great.”
The XFL season is set to begin the weekend of Feb. 8, one week after Super Bowl LIV. The as-of-now nameless Tampa Bay team will play its home games at Raymond James Stadium.
Contact Thomas Bassinger at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @tometrics.