It’s time to get excited, folks. You’re about to see Landry Jones for the first time in years. The former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback who spent five years with the team between 2013 and 2017 is set to make his XFL debut today as the starting quarterback for the Dallas Renegades.
Jones was the flagship signing of the XFL, the first player to come on board, last year after he seemingly dried up all of his leads to land another job in the NFL. After the Steelers released him at the end of the 2018 preseason in favor of Joshua Dobbs (who would be traded a year later), he was briefly with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and had a short stint in the offseason with the Oakland Raiders in 2019.
He missed the Renegades’ first game of the season—or rather served as the team’s number three quarterback—because he was still working his way back from a knee injury, and had not been practicing as much as the team was hoping. But it has been announced that he will be ready to go today.
Said Renegades head coach Bob Stoops, “we’re planning on starting Landry and playing the whole game and protecting him like we need to”. He added that Jones has “felt good all week, so we’re anxious to see him out there”.
Dallas struggled without him during the franchise’s inaugural game, losing 15-9 to the St. Louis BattleHawks. The Renegades are expected to be one of the better teams in the league in no small part because Jones is the most experienced and veteran of the quarterbacks in the XFL, and one of the few players to command a six-figure salary.
It’s worth noting that Stoops was Jones’ college coach, during which they ran a rather prolific offense. He tossed 123 touchdowns during his college career at Oklahoma, and threw for 16,646 yards before the Steelers drafted him in the fourth round.
He spent his first two seasons in Pittsburgh on the bench, sitting behind Bruce Gradkowski as the direct backup to Ben Roethlisberger, but he got the chance to move ahead in 2015. Gradkowski was injured in the preseason, and the team went out and signed Mike Vick to be the backup, but he would eventually be injured, too.
In the game in which Vick was injured, Jones would help lead a comeback against the Arizona Cardinals, who at the time were one of the hottest teams in the league, in no small part thanks to the individual efforts of Martavis Bryant.
He would lose the following week in his first career start, but would get a ‘win’ later when he was injured in a game and Roethlisberger, who was dressed for emergency purposes while coming back from an injury, came in and won the game.
He has completed 108 of 169 passes over his career for 1310 yards with eight touchdowns to seven interceptions and a quarterback rating of 68.9. And many still wonder if the Steelers would have made the playoffs in each of the past two seasons if he had still been on the roster.