During the shortened 2020 XFL season there was one team that stood out from the competition. Led by Coach June Jones and QB PJ Walker, the Houston Roughnecks ended the season undefeated with a 5-0 record.
Due to COVID, the XFL was forced to suspend its season and ultimately shutter its operations prior to filing for bankruptcy. Although the league was unable to finish their inaugural season PJ Walker was named the leagues MVP.
When XFL players officially became free agents, Walker was one of the first to be signed. The NFL’s Carolina Panthers picked up the XFL star and we’ve seen him come in for the team on a few occasions. During the 2020 season Walker started for the franchise, and led the team to a 20-0 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Fast forward to the current NFL season and we’ve seen PJ come in for the Panthers the last two weeks. Both coming off of injuries to the Panthers starting quarterback Sam Darnold.
According to David Newton of ESPN, it looks like Walker may get another chance to start for the team. PJ Walker has reportedly taken all of the first-team reps, with Darnold limited due to concussion protocol.
PJ Walker is preparing for Sunday’s game against New England as though he will be the Panthers’ starter. He took all first-team reps with Sam Darnold very limited due to the concussion protocol. https://t.co/nCbzCf8mjV
Given the opportunity to play a full game, we could see him break out like we did in the XFL and his Panthers debut in 2020. Both the Panthers and the New England Patriots have a 4-4 record, and I’m sure PJ would love to be the one to push them over .500.
One thing PJ does have going for him is that the matchup will take place at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC; giving the franchise a home team advantage.
During his stint with the XFL Walker became the first quarterback to throw for 1,000 yards, totaling 1,338 yards and 15 touchdowns over five games.
Last week we saw three former XFL quarterbacks get playing time in the NFL. Joining PJ Walker, we saw Josh Johnson (Los Angeles Wildcats) come in for the New York Jets and Tyler Heineke (St. Louis BattleHawks) has been starting for the Washington Football Team since the beginning of the season.
This is just another example of that the XFL worked, and shows there’s a need for another platform for these players to showcase their skills. The XFL is gearing up for a 2023 return, and in the meantime we’ll see the USFL re-emerge in 2022 on FOX.
Will you be tuning into the Carolina Panthers game this Sunday to cheer on PJ Walker? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.