Many Pittsburgh Steelers fans wondered after Ben Roethlisberger went down with an injury if the team had given a call to Landry Jones, who spent five years with the team before getting the short end of the stick prior to the start of the 2018 season.
It was reported that they had. It turns out, they had not. They actually called the XFL. Their contracts stipulate that, upon signing, players are bound to the league through the first full season, though they could be free to sign with an NFL team after the year—the championship game—is over.
XFL commissioner Oliver Luck told ESPN that they informed the Steelers of this and that Jones is “not interested in any opportunities in the NFL. Thanks very much”. Jones admitted to ESPN that the first time he heard of the Steelers contacting anybody was when it was reported through the media months later.
He said that even if he were able to sign, it would have been a bad time, because his wife was expecting with their third child. “But I wish I would’ve gotten a phone call. These are people’s lives and careers”.
Which is why he was skeptical about signing with the XFL, and why he declined an offer from the AAF. He said that he had been offered a seven-figure salary, but when it came time to discuss how and when he would actually be paid, they could not give him concrete answers, so he decided that he would not be a part of it. Of course, the league folded before their season even finished.
What got him to agree to terms with the XFL? Well, for one thing, he understands the financial structure in place is more stable. This is being backed directly by the owner of the league, Vince McMahon, who is a multi-billionaire perhaps a little short of hellbent on making this thing work the second time around.
So he’s confident at least that he will continue to get his paychecks, even if he is making significantly less than he would have made even in the AAF, just six figures, one of few players. He also gets to play under Bob Stoops, his college head coach.
The XFL will play its first games in two decades starting tomorrow, but it’s not clear if Jones will be on the field for the Dallas Renegades. He suffered a knee injury a few weeks ago, and while he has returned to practice, he could still miss a game or two.
The Renegades play the St. Louis BattleHawks this Sunday at home at 5 PM EST (4PM CST), and it will air on ESPN. There is no other football game to watch this Sunday, so you might as well tune in and watch (maybe) Landry Jones slinging the ball around. Other former Steelers on the team include Dashaun Phillips, Tegray Scales, and Winston Craig.