February 3, 2001
For some, it's a chance to show the NFL what it missed out on. For
others, the lightning speed and jarring collisions satisfy their
thirst for pure football. And for at least one player, the first
XFL season provides a stage to let loose and electrify crowds.
But beneath the surface of passionate players, honest
broadcasters and glamorous cheerleaders lies hundreds of unique
stories waiting to unfold. Here's a glimpse of some stories you
should be on the lookout for.
-- Casey Weldon, QB, Birmingham: A former Heisman runner-up and
4th-round pick in the NFL Draft, Weldon was limited to only 26 pro
appearances. Many expect a breakout XFL season for the former Florida
State QB. The Bolts' field leader will certainly have the opportunity
with an aggressive offensive attack, but will he capitalize?
-- LeShon Johnson, RB, Chicago: Johnson proved his worth during
the 1996 NFL season by rushing for 634 yards out of Arizona's backfield.
But Lymphoma sidelined him in 1998 and now the former collegiate
All-American has a chance to become one of the greatest comeback
stories in pro sports.
-- Rashaan Salaam, RB, Memphis: Yeah, he won the Heisman after racking
up 2,055 yards and 24 touchdowns his senior year at Colorado, but
that and a few bucks can get Salaam a ticket to nearby Graceland.
Salaam needs to stay healthy and display the power running that
allowed him to collect 1,074 yards as a rookie with the Bears if
he wants to flourish for the Maniax.
-- Brian Bosworth, Analyst, UPN: The Boz won't be slippin' on the
pads this weekend, but as the lead analyst for all XFL Games on
UPN, the charismatic Bozworth is as vital to the game as anyone
else. When you first met Boz, he was a rebellious college player,
spearheading a punishing Oklahoma defense towards some of its greatest
glory. Now you'll hear him discuss a game that is being played just
the way he likes it - tough.
-- Charles Puleri, QB, New York: It's fitting that he's developed
a dead-on impression of Rodney Dangerfield. Puleri earned a role
in the hit flick "There's Something About Mary", but the
Bronx native seeks respect as the main man in New York's huddle.
He played a quarterback in "Any Given Sunday", but can
he become the Big Apple's favorite hometown hero by barking winning
signals for the Hitmen?
-- Jermaine Copeland, WR, Los Angeles: Promising to take full advantage
of the XFL's liberal celebration policy, Copeland has conjured up
a touchdown dance dubbed the "X-Spot". Chances are that
with Tommy Maddox slinging the leather for the Xtreme, Copeland
will get to showcase his moves early and often. "I can't wait
to drop an X on somebody," he said.
XFL cameras and microphones will be following these and many other
intriguing stories throughout the season.