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New XFL Quarterback And Former National Champion Looking To Make Huge Impact in 2023

The XFL football season starts this weekend for the first time since it’s relaunch in 2020. There will be eight teams scattered across the country who will play ten games each. The four best teams will make the semifinals in May, and the two winners will play for the championship.

Many of the players are former NFL and college standouts. One of the more decorated stars is former Alabama quarterback and three-time national champion, AJ McCarron. The former Crimson Tide QB and eight-year NFL veteran will play for the St. Louis Battlehawks. Why is he coming back to playing and does he have a good chance at making an impact in the XFL?

McCarron Was The Face Of A Dynasty Before

Before joining the XFL this year, let’s recap his storied career. AJ McCarron came to the University of Alabama in 2009 but redshirted as the Crimson Tide won their first national championship since 1992. After playing sparingly in 2010, McCarron became the Crimson Tide’s quarterback the following three seasons.

As a sophomore, he led Alabama to an 11-1 record and a national championship win over LSU. McCarron finished the year with 2,634 yards, 16 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He had a breakout year as a junior throwing for nearly 3,000 yards, 30 touchdowns, and just three interceptions. Alabama returned to the national championship again and beat Notre Dame.

In 2013 as a senior, McCarron finished the year as the Heisman runner-up. He set a career-high in passing yards while throwing 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Alabama was knocked out of championship contention with their infamous “Kick-Six” loss to Auburn to close out the regular season. This loss ended Alabama’s chances of a perfect record. AJ McCarron remains Alabama’s all-time passing leader with a career of 9,019 passing yards.

After a decorated college career, McCarron was drafted in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014. He did not make a start until the end of the 2015 season when Andy Dalton went down with a thumb injury. McCarron also started the Bengals’ wild card round loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

AJ McCarron did play in any games in 2016 or 2017 and joined the Buffalo Bills in 2018. He was then traded right before Week One of the 2018 season to the Oakland Raiders. McCarron attempted just three passes with the Raiders before joining the Houston Texans in 2019. He made one start in two seasons before joining the Atlanta Falcons in 2021, where he tore his ACL in the preseason and never returned to the NFL.

McCarron finished his NFL career with five career starts including one postseason start over eight years. He completed over 60% of his passes for 1,385 yards, seven touchdowns, and four interceptions. Due to injuries along the way and teams drafting QB’s in early rounds, McCarron was never quite able to find a permanent NFL home.

His Transition To The XFL

AJ McCarron could have waited around for another opportunity in the NFL but wants to get back to the playing field right away. He is looking for a chance to do what he loves the most.

The decision for me was: Do I wait around and join somebody’s team in the NFL late, try to do these workouts and fly here and fly there or do I just want to go play? Listen, I’ve made enough money in my career. I don’t live a crazy lifestyle, and I have everything that I’ve ever wanted. For me, it’s back to just playing. I love to play. I love to help lead a team and lead a group of guys to try to achieve greatness, and that’s the biggest thing for me.

McCarron also said that the experience of joining the St Louis Battlehawks reminded him of his early days in Tuscaloosa. Despite the XFL going through plenty of changes and bumpy starts, he sees plenty of potential in his new city.

The passion that they have and the city of St. Louis has for football, you can tell right off the bat, and it reminds me of college. It really does. The expectation to win and to win a championship reminds me of Alabama, and it’s something that I love. I loved playing at Alabama because they expected to win a national championship every year. Our ‘09 class really helped create that monster, if you want to call it that, at Alabama where the expectations are that high every year. But I truly believe that’s when you perform at your best is when the pressure is on and expectations are high. I think it creates and gets the best out of you, and it’s something that I really love and want to be a part of.

Next Steps

AJ McCarron is ready for the next chapter of his life in the XFL. He knows what it takes to lead a team to a championship as he did it twice as a starter. McCarron also has plenty of NFL experience bouncing around the league. The St Louis Battlehawks are in good hands with one of the XFL’s best quarterbacks going into 2023.



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