Former Eagles Fly to the XFL

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The Superbowl has come and gone with the reigning champion, Kansas City Chiefs, parade taking place earlier this week. Up next for the NFL is extensive scouting, workouts, free agent signings, and of course the 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas. If you are like me, you’re probably keeping an eye on these other football leagues. Last year, my focus was on the AAF and the AFL. It’s why the rise of Greg Ward Jr in midnight green was such a joy for me to witness and it’s also the reason why I am happy to discuss a former Philadelphia Soul wide receiver that has made his way onto an XFL roster.

Unfortunately, the city of Philadelphia is not a market for the XFL in the first season. Surrounding our area is a market out of Washington DC and in New York. However, it’s worth a look at former Philadelphia Eagles players who are attempting to keep their football career alive in the United States. At Philly Sports Network, Liam Jenkins has produced a video on our YouTube channel of how he rates the XFL teams in the quest to pick a favorite. Here, I am providing additional interest for our Eagles faithful who are still hungry for pigskin.

Dallas Renegades

Freddie Martino (WR): Martino’s time in the NFL featured being released and signed to the practice squad on three NFL teams. Originally the Falcons, then the Eagles, and lastly the Buccaneers. After his time in Philadelphia was behind him, Martino caught his first touchdown pass with Tampa Bay against the Chicago Bears. He was also traded in the only season of the AAF from the Orlando Apollos to the Arizona Hotshots. Before the first game of the XFL, Martino was traded from the Tampa Bay Vipers to the Dallas Renegades for wide receiver Stacy Coley.

Josh Hawkins (CB): Hawkins only saw playing time as a part of the Packers in the NFL, but found his way to the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad. Hawkins started three games in the NFL, all with Green Bay, making 42 tackles, defending seven passes, and forcing one fumble.

Asantay Brown (LB): Brown was signed to the Philadelphia Eagles after Kamu-Grugier Hill suffered an injury at practice. He was originally signed in the NFL as a rookie free-agent in 2018. Brown never played for the Eagles in the regular season.

Winston Craig (DT): Craig went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft and landed on the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad. He was waived just before the Eagles won Superbowl 52 to make room for Harold Jones-Quartey. After the AAF folded, Craig went to the Steelers but was waived four months later.

DC Defenders

DeAndre Thompkins (WR): Thompkins is a Penn State alumni that found his way onto the Philadelphia Eagles roster. As a rookie, he was among the first round of cuts by the Eagles in the 2019 pre-season.

Donnel Pumphrey (RB): Pumphrey was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He signed a four-year contract and beat out Wendell Smallwood for a spot on the Eagles roster. He never notched a carry for Philadelphia in a regular-season game. To put this into perspective, Pumphrey was drafted in the seventh round of the 2020 XFL Draft.

Jon Toth (C): Toth was an undrafted free agent who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and finished his NFL career on the New York Jets. Nothing of note in the NFL. He at least was able to wear one of those new Jets jerseys.

Malcolm Bunche (T): I went to high school with Bunche in Delaware at Newark High School. After going undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Bunche. During the final round of roster cuts in the preseason, Bunche was cut and then signed to the practice squad. He was signed to every team in the NFC East except for the Dallas Cowboys.

Elijah Qualls (DT): Qualls was selected in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft and signed a four-year, $2.52mil contract. He does have a Superbowl ring from the Philadelphia Eagles victory over the New England Patriots but was waived the following September.

Houston Roughnecks

Trae Elston (S): In Elston’s first stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, he was signed off waivers and then waived by the Eagles within ten days. He had another stint, this time making it to the final round of roster cuts in 2019 before being cut in the preseason. He did make his first career NFL start on the Bills against the Raiders, where he intercepted Derek Carr and led the Bills that game with 11 tackles.

Ajene Harris (CB): Harris was signed to the practice squad of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019 after being cut in the final round of the preseason. Primarily, Harris was a special teamer during his time on the Eagles.

DeAngelo Henderson (RB): Originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Broncos, Henderson recorded his first NFL touchdown against the Chiefs on a reception from Paxton Lynch. After being waived, he would eventually land on the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad in 2019, but his contract would expire.

Toby Weathersby (T): Weathersby was an undrafted free agent who signed originally with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018. He was placed on injured reserve and released by October 2018.

Gabe Wright (DT): The Lions traded up with the Philadelphia Eagles to select Wright in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Eagles would then have their turn with Wright in 2017, but he would be waived in the same season.

Los Angeles Wildcats

Jerome Couplin (S): Couplin was signed to the Philadelphia Eagles off the Lions practice squad in 2014. He was released from the Eagles in 2016. The majority of his playing time in the NFL was with Detroit.

Quentin Gause (LB): Gause signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free-agent in 2016. He was released in the final round of roster cuts in the 2016 preseason.

New York Guardians

Luis Perez (QB): Perez was a standout in the AAF before getting a shot with the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2019 preseason. He was waived after a month with the franchise.

Matt McGloin (QB): McGloin is a Penn State University alumni who signed as an undrafted free agent with the Raiders upon entering the NFL. He debuted for the Raiders against the Philadelphia Eagles. McGloin did throw for three touchdowns against the Texans on the way to a victory as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Here’s a stat: McGloin’s 259 yards-per-game average is second to Jake Delhomme in NFL history for an undrafted rookie. After his time with the Raiders, he signed a one-year contract with the Eagles before being released.

Ryan Mueller (LB): Mueller was signed to the Philadelphia Eagles to play fullback in 2016, which was a position he occasionally played in college at Kansas State.

Darius Prince (WR): Okay, so this one is a little bit of a cheat. Prince was the go-to receiver on the Philadelphia Soul AFL team and received Arenabowl 30 MVP honors. He does have ties to the Philadelphia Eagles too. In 2018, he played in two preseason games while scoring three touchdowns and totaling 103 receiving yards. Prince is a receiver that I believe the Eagles should have taken a longer look at, especially considering the appeal that players such as Greg Ward Jr displayed versus the money that Nelson Agholor received.

St. Louis Battlehawks

Carlton Agudosi (WR): Agudosi was a receiver that had the size to make you believe he was going to open eyes in the preseason. The Philadelphia Eagles signed him in 2019 and waived him during the final roster cuts of the preseason.

Harold Jones-Quartey (S): Jones-Quartey made his only splash on the Bears, logging his first NFL interception and forced fumble against the Buccaneers. After a promising performance, he was waived by Chicago. Jones-Quartey was on the practice squad with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017.

Matt Jones (RB): Jones was selected in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Redskins and signed a four-year contract. Against the Rams, he ran for a career-high 123 yards and two touchdowns. Jones was to be the starting running back for the Redskins but suffered a knee injury. He would be replaced by Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson. In 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Jones to a two-year contract but he was released in four months.

Seattle Dragons

Godwin Igwebuike (S): The sole former Philadelphia Eagle on the Seattle Dragons, Igwebuike was claimed off waivers by the Eagles in 2019 from the 49ers. Three months later, he would be waived again and claimed by the Jets.

Tampa Bay Vipers

Aaron Murray (QB): Murray was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Chiefs. In 2016, he was reunited with his original offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles, Doug Pederson, on the practice squad. Murray was out of Philadelphia and was with the Rams for a stint in 2017.

Seantavius Jones (WR): After beginning his NFL career with the Saints, Jones signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016. Two months later, he was released.

The XFL season kicks off on February 8th, 2020. Featured games are the Los Angeles Wildcats at the Houston Roughnecks, Seattle Dragons at the DC Defenders, Tampa Bay Vipers at the New York Guardians, and the St. Louis Battlehawks at the Dallas Renegades. The two teams that I will be watching closely are the DC Defenders and the New York Guardians. Regardless of how the season pans out, I want to wish these former Philadelphia Eagles players the best of luck and health this season. In my best Vince McMahon impression: WELCOME TO THE XFL!

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