Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones is the first player to sign with the XFL in advance of its 2020 relaunch, the league announced on Thursday.
Jones, 30, was the Steelers fourth-round draft pick in 2013 and played in 19 games and made five starts for the Steelers from 2013 to 2017. He went 3-2 in his five starts and completed 63.9% of his passes for the Steelers, but lost his backup job last year to Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph.
“I’m looking forward to joining the XFL and playing the game I love,” Jones said in a press release. “I can’t wait to suit-up.”
He spent three weeks with the Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2018 season following an injury to Blake Bortles and spent two months with the Oakland Raiders this spring before being released on May 22.
The league, which will start play in the spring, comes in the wake of the AAF, a spring league that didn’t even make it through one season while attempting to start up in 2019. No AAF quarterback had as much NFL experience as Jones will bring to the XFL. His salary was not disclosed.
“We’re excited to welcome Landry to the XFL as our first player and first quarterback,” XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said. “He’s an accomplished athlete with outstanding college credentials and pro experience, and his heart and desire to play football epitomizes the type of individual we want in the XFL.”
The league will sign seven other quarterbacks before the teams draft out of the signed player pool this October. The league will launch with franchises in Dallas, Houston, New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington, D.C.
The XFL will attempt to make inroads in larger markets after the failure of the AAF, which largely relied on mid-sized cities. The folded league had teams in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Diego.
The original XFL lasted just one season in 2001 and was known for its innovate rules and personality driven broadcasts. Both leagues came under the auspices of WWE chairman Vince McMahon. The new league is expected to focus more on traditional football and less on innovation.
The Steelers signed several players that played in the original AAF, including safety Kameron Kelly, who appears to have an inside track on a roster spot. Offensive lineman JC Hassenauer, defensive linemen Winston Craig and Casey Sayles and linebacker J.T. Jones also played in the spring league.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 10/22/20
Stephon Tuitt practices his footwork and Minkah Fitzpatrick works on his ball awareness as the Steelers defense prepares for their upcoming matchup with the Tennessee Titans.
Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers
Highlights from Steelers Practice 10/21/20
Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson returns to practice and joins star rookie Chase Claypool by running routes and catching passes on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. The Steelers hope to show off their dynamic offense at full strength during the team’s game this Sunday against Tennessee.
Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’Veon Bell Says He’s Never Played with an MVP-Caliber QB
Kansas City running back Le’Veon Bell spoke with the media Wednesday for the first time since signing with the Chiefs and expressed excitement about the chance to play with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but he may have taken a shot at his former teammate Ben Roethlisberger in the process.
“Patty Mahomes, I’ve never played with a player MVP-wise, so it’s gonna be fun,” Bell said. “I think it’s a lot of weapons, it’s gonna be fun for me.”
“Patty Mahomes…I’ve never played with a player MVP-wise so it’s gonna be fun. I think it’s a lot of weapons, it’s gonna be fun for me.”— The MMQB (@theMMQB) October 21, 2020
Le’Veon Bell talks about why he chose the Chiefs
While Bell could just be propping up his new teammate, it does appear that the three-time Pro Bowler has already forgotten just how good he had it as a Pittsburgh Steeler.
Roethlisberger has never won an MVP award, but the future Hall of Famer did post MVP-caliber numbers over the five seasons they spent together in Pittsburgh.
From 2013 to 2017, Roethlisberger passed for 21,221 yards and 138 touchdowns, as the Steelers went a combined 48-24 when he was under center. Bell was a clear beneficiary of Roethlisberger’s production. Not only did he rush for 5,336 yards and 35 scores as a Steelers, but he also caught 312 passes for 2,660 yards and seven touchdowns.
Bell signed with Kansas City last week after being released by the New York Jets following a disappointing 17 games with the franchise. The two-time All-Pro rushed for just 863 yards and three touchdowns as a Jet. He had no rushes over 19 yards while playing under head coach Adam Gase, and did not post a single 100-yard rushing performance in New York.
Pittsburgh selected Bell in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but the two sides were unable to agree to a long-term extension following a productive five years. Bell sat out the entirety of the 2018 season before signing a free agent contract with New York. He is fourth in Steelers history with 5,335 rushing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns