Graphic by Chelsea Wood

Ja’Quan Gardner Rushes into the XFL

HSU adds another pro football player to its record, but not for the league you think
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HSU adds another pro football player to its record, but not for the league you think

The XFL is back after a 19-year break and is the next football league to try to fill the gap between NFL seasons. Former Humboldt State University running back Ja’Quan Gardner has joined the Seattle Dragons along with former NFL prospects and players.

This isn’t the first professional league that Gardner has played in. A story by the Lost Coast Outpost said he spent a short time in the NFL after being signed as a non-drafted free agent by the San Francisco 49ers, only to play one preseason game in 2018 before being waived. He also played for another rival league to the NFL, the now-defunct Alliance of America Football where he led the league in rushing on the San Diego Fleet before having to undergo shoulder surgery.

It may seem like just another NFL, but the XFL does have some aspects that make it stand out.

The XFL originally started in 2001, and ran for a season with poor ratings as it tried to turn football into a reality show similar to the WWE. After learning his lesson the first time, WWE Chairman and founder of the original XFL Vince McMahon has brought the league back with familiar faces.

In October, Gardner was drafted to the Seattle Dragons, who lost their opener 31-19 against the D.C. Defenders with Gardner rushing for only 36 yards in nine attempts. In their second game against the Tampa Bay Vipers on Feb. 15, they came out victorious with the Dragons winning 17-9. Gardner rushed for 27 yards in 10 attempts.

It may seem like just another NFL, but the XFL does have some aspects that make it stand out.

An NPR article explained the league has a few notable rule changes that make it unique.

In the NFL, nearly every score ends with an extra point try. In the XFL, they have ditched the kick and replaced it with 3-point, 2-point and 1-point tries from the 10-yard, 5-yard and 2-yard line, respectively. Paired with this is a so-called comeback period where the clock will stop after every play in the final two minutes of each half. This will give trailing teams a better chance at making a comeback.

The play clock has been shortened to 25 seconds, teams only have two timeouts, halftime is only 10 minutes and the clock doesn’t stop after incomplete passes and out-of-bound plays like in the NFL. These time changes are in an attempt to shorten the three-hour-long games the NFL is accustomed to and limit the downtime in the game.

These are just a few of the new rules the XFL is changing to try and become a reasonable substitution for the NFL during the spring.

You can watch Ja’Quan Gardner and the Seattle Dragons take on the Dallas Renegades Feb. 22 at 5:00 p.m.

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