The XFL promises to make fans a part of the
action by showing an innovative, behind the
scenes look at the game of professional football.
As has become his custom during the New York/New
Jersey HITMEN™ second mini-camp, HITMEN Vice
President and General Manager Drew Pearson once
again became personally involved in Saturday’s
The three-time Pro Bowler donned HITMEN gear
(complete with a white #88 jersey) and was an
active participant in the individual wide receiver
drills, running all the routes and giving pointers
to the receiver corps, according to offensive
coordinator Ron Calcagni.
Pearson instructed Zola Davis on the finer points
of running inside routes. “You listen to him
because he’s been there,” Davis said. “It also
doesn’t hurt that he’s the boss.”
Unfortunately, team administrator Christian
DiVernieri did not come away unscathed from
his encounter with Pearson.
Guarding the General Manager in a Cover-2 technique
during a release drill, DiVernieri became too
friendly with Drew’s All-Pro form and took a
finger in the eye. DiVernieri was later seen
sporting the team’s colors - black and blue.
Quarterbacks Corte McGuffey and Kevin Mason
provided kicking specialist Sean Liss with some
much needed relief this weekend.
Liss, who handled all of the punting and kicking
chores throughout mini-camp, was understandably
sore from the extra work, and Mason and McGuffey
were happy to demonstrate their punting proficiency.
The signal callers were more than capable replacements
for Liss -- Mason boomed a 50-yard punt and
McGuffey launched some kicks in the 45-yard
plus range -- prompting the Florida State product
to jump right back into drills.
Cornerback Donnie Caldwell was one of a dozen
hopeful return specialists on the receiving
end of the Mason and McGuffey rockets.
An accomplished punt returner who has several
touchdown runs to his credit during his collegiate
career at Western Illinois, Caldwell surprised
his teammates and special teams coach Paul Butcher
when he dropped a punt during drills.
Drawing calls of “stone hands” and “the sun
was in my eyes” from other return candidates,
Caldwell blamed the wind for his miscue.
Butcher saw it differently.
“I scared him,” the coach said, describing how
he simulated a would-be tackler in a no-fair-catch
situation. “He heard footsteps. I told him to
go back to his defensive back drills.”
Equipment manager Tommy McVean discovered a
bit of chicanery on the part of the HITMEN quarterbacks.
It seems that the QBs pulled “the oldest trick
in the book,” according to McVean, deflating
the footballs in order to get a better grip
during the cold weather.
The veteran McVean noted that complaints had
been lodged about the firmness of the footballs,
and a routine check uncovered the pigskin problem.
Center Dustin Owen and Linebacker Ron Merkerson
locked horns during 11-on-11 drills and needed
to be separated by teammates.
When asked what the fisticuffs were about, Merkerson
said he could not remember, but defensive end
Antonio Anderson offered his take on the one-round
“The offensive line has been holding all camp,”
Anderson said. “Merk probably got tired of it.”
For once in his life, Owen had no comment.
Marlon Chambers was a standout tight end and
power forward at Louisiana Tech, and played
some defensive end with the Chicago Bears.
A mountain of a man, Marlon was asked by HITMEN
offensive line coach Edwin Bailey to make the
switch to offensive tackle.
How did the athletic Chambers react when informed
of his new position? With characteristic enthusiasm,
“I’ll do anything the coaches ask me to do,”
Chambers said of his transition from pass catcher
to pass blocker. “I’m putting my maximum effort
According to Bailey, the Chambers experiment
is “interesting” thus far.
Impressed with the team’s work ethic and practice
habits during mini-camp, HITMEN head coach Rusty
Tillman cancelled team meetings Saturday, giving
his squad a rare night off.
Instead of venturing out to explore nearby New
York City, most of the players traveled no farther
than the restaurant of the team hotel, enjoying
a quiet dinner before retreating to their rooms
to watch television or study their playbooks.
When asked why he did not take advantage of
this newfound freedom, a player, offensive guard
Derrick Turner said. “We had 11 p.m. bed check
and 7 a.m. practice on Sunday. Where were we
going to go?”
Notes from - [Day
1 | Day
2 | Day
3 | Day
4 | Day 5]