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Martavis Bryant, 20 Other Former Steelers Make XFL Rosters



Steelers Martavis Bryant XFL
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant (10) walks on the sidelines during an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Monday, Oct. 20, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The XFL reboot starts in eight days, and several former Pittsburgh Steelers players will be looking to jump-start their careers and get back to the NFL in the third iteration of the professional spring football league.

The original XFL lasted just one season in 2001, but helped spawn or resuscitate the careers of many pros, including future Steelers players Tommy Maddox and Corey Ivy. 

Ivy had been a practice squad an NFL Europe player in two seasons in the NFL before getting his chance. Maddox was a former first-round pick that used the nascent league to revitalize his career.

The league’s first attempt at a return in 2020 was canceled mid-season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. After a restructuring that included a purchase by former pro wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the league is set to return for a third try this spring with teams in eight U.S. cities.

The players with Steelers connections that made the league’s initial 51-man roster are a combination of players like Maddox attempt to revive a career and players like Ivy trying to get one started.

The biggest name of the bunch is former Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who has been kicking around the lower levels of pro football since earning an indefinite NFL suspension for substance abuse violations in 2018. He’ll play for the Vegas Vipers, led by head coach and Steelers Hall of Fame cornerback Rod Woodson.

Another former Steelers wide out, slot man Eli Rogers, is also trying to get back to the NFL, where he was never given a second shot after being cut by the Steelers in 2019. Rogers will play for the Orlando Guardians.

Defensive back and second-round pick Sean Davis is one of three former Steelers on the Houston Roughnecks. DB Antoine Brooks, the team’s sixth-round draft pick in 2020, and outside linebacker Tuzar Skipper, a training camp darling in 2019, are both on the Seattle Sea Dragons.

Cornerback Shakur Brown and wide receiver Tyler Vaughns, both players that were popular during training camp stints, are on the Arlington Renegades.

The season will kick off next Saturday at 3 p.m., when Woodson’s Vipers will visit Arlington at 3 p.m. The 10-weeks schedule runs through April 23, with the championship game scheduled for May 13.


Arlington Renegades
Co-OC Jonathan Hayes, Co-DC Jay Hayes, Co-DC Tim Lewis
DL Doug Costin (2022 training camp)
CB Shakur Brown (2021 training camp)
WR Tyler Vaughns (2021-22 training camp, practice squad)

D.C. Defenders
K Matthew McCrane (2018, one game)

Houston Roughnecks
RB Max Borghi (2022 training camp)
DB Sean Davis (2016-20, 64 games)
CB Alexander Myres (2019-20 training camp, practice squad)

Orlando Guardians
WR Eli Rogers (2016-19, 30 games)
ILB Tegray Scales (2019-21, two games)

San Antonio Brahmas
HC Hines Ward, LBC Joey Porter
RB Kalen Ballage (2021, 17 games)
TE Alizé Mack (2019, practice squad)
OLB Delontae Scott (2021-22, three games)
LS Rex Sunahara (2021-22, practice squad)
P Brad Wing (2014-15, 16 games)

Seattle Sea Dragons
HC Jim Haslett, DC Ron Zook
OLB Tuzar Skipper (2019, 2022 training camp)
DB Antoine Brooks (2020, four games)
CB Linden Stephens (2021-22, practice squad, training camp)
P Cameron Nizialek (2022 training camp)

St. Louis Battlehawks
OC Bruce Gradkowski
RB Mataeo Durant (2022 training camp)
LB Travis Feeney (2016 training camp, practice squad)

Vegas Vipers
HC Rod Woodson, WRC Ray Sherman, DBC Darren Perry
WR Martavis Bryant (2014-17, 36 games)
WR Mathew Sexton (2021 training camp)


Saturday, Feb. 18
Vegas at Arlington, 3 p.m., ABC
Orlando at Houston, 8:30 p.m., ESPN/FX
Sunday, Feb. 19
St. Louis at San Antonio, 3 p.m., ABC
Seattle at D.C., 8 p.m., ESPN

Thursday, Feb. 23
St. Louis at Seattle, 9 p.m., FX

Saturday, Feb. 25
D.C. at Vegas, 7 p.m., FX
Sunday, Feb. 26
San Antonio at Orlando, 4 p.m., ESPN
Arlington at Houston, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Saturday, March 4
Seattle at Vegas, 7 p.m., FX
Sunday, March 5
St. Louis at D.C., 1 p.m., FX
Orlando at Arlington, 4 p.m., FX
San Antonio at Houston, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Saturday, March 11
Houston at Orlando, 7 p.m., FX
San Antonio at Seattle, 10 p.m., FX
Sunday, March 12
Arlington at St. Louis, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Vegas at D.C., 7 p.m., ESPN2

Thursday, March 16
Houston at Seattle, 9 p.m., FX
Saturday, March 18
D.C. at St. Louis, 7 p.m., FX
Orlando at Vegas, 10 p.m., FX
Sunday, March 19
Arlington at San Antonio, 10 p.m., ESPN2

Saturday, March 25
Seattle at Orlando, 1:30 p.m., ESPN
St. Louis at Vegas, 7 p.m., FX
Sunday, March 26
San Antonio at Arlington, 3 p.m., ABC
Houston at D.C., 7 p.m., FX

Friday, March 31
Seattle at Arlington, 7 p.m., FX
Saturday, April 1
St. Louis at Houston, 3 p.m., ESPN2
San Antonio at Vegas, 6 p.m., ESPN
Sunday, April 2
D.C. at Orlando, 7 p.m., FX

Saturday, April 8
Vegas at St. Louis, 1 p.m., ESPN
Arlington at Orlando, 4 p.m., ESPN
Sunday, April 9
Houston at San Antonio, 3 p.m., ABC
D.C. at Seattle, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Saturday, April 15
Vegas at Houston, 12;30 p.m., ABC
Orlando at San Antonio, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Sunday, April 16
Arlington at D.C., noon, ESPN
Seattle at St. Louis, 3 p.m., ESPN

Saturday, April 22
Orlando at St. Louis, noon, ESPN
D.C. at San Antonio, 3 p.m., ABC
Sunday, April 23
Houston at Arlington, 3 p.m., ESPN
Vegas at Seattle, 9 p.m., ESPN2

Saturday, April 29
Semifinal, TBD, 7 p.m., ESPN2
Sunday, April 30
Semifinal, TBD, 3 p.m., ESPN

Saturday, May 13
XFL Final, TBD, 3 p.m., ABC

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