XFL owner Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shouted out former Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron for choosing his league over the NFL.
The XFL has entered the second week of its third season under its third iteration. There are two teams at the top of the North division, one of them being the St. Louis Battlehawks with a 2-0 record. They overcame a 15-3 deficit in the fourth quarter of their season-opening game against the San Antonio Brahmas to pick up the 18-15 win. Then, this past Thursday, they picked up the 20-18 win over the Seattle Dragons after a game-winning field goal by Donny Hageman. The quarterback responsible for leading the Battlehawks to their two game-winning drives in their first two games is former Alabama Crimson Tide star A.J. McCarron.
After St. Louis’ win over Seattle, McCarron revealed that he could have remained in the NFL as a backup quarterback for better pay, but he decided to go to the XFL for a chance to start. The reason why he wanted to start in the XFL was to create memories for his sons.
“My 6-year-old loves watching tape of me on YouTube. That’s a big reason I chose to return this way …”, said McCarron, h/t ESPN. “I probably could have tried to come back with an NFL team and had a chance to probably make more money, but no one knows what the future holds. I’m enjoying this and it’s a great way to create some memories for me and my boys.”
The Rock thanks former Alabama star A.J. McCarron for choosing XFL over NFL
McCarron’s comments went viral on social media. One of the XFL’s owners is former professional wrestler turned actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who heaped praise on McCarron and said his decision to play in his league over the NFL “means a helluva lot” to him.
McCarron became a star for the Crimson Tide football program, as he was the starting quarterback on their three BCS national championship teams (2010, 2012-13). After his collegiate career came to an end, he declared for the NFL Draft, where he was selected in the fifth-round by the Cincinnati Bengals. McCarron spent four seasons with the Bengals, earning three starts, all of which occurred in the 2015 season, and picked up two wins. Following the end of his tenure with the Bengals, McCarron spent time with the Buffalo Bills (2018), the Raiders (2018), Houston Texans (2019-20), and Atlanta Falcons (2021).
This past November, McCarron was drafted by the Battlehawks, and just two weeks into the season, he is their most clutch quarterback.
Down 15-3 to the Brahmas in the season-opener, McCarron cut the deficit to 15-12 on an 18-yard passing touchdown to Hakeem Butler and a three-point conversion completion to Austin Proehl. Then, after converting on the fourth-and-15 onside attempt, McCarron connected with Proehl once again for a go-ahead, game-winning touchdown with just 16 seconds remaining in regulation.
Then, this past Thursday, the Dragons took a late 18-17 lead on a touchdown pass from former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci to wide receiver Jordan Veasey and a successful three-point conversion. But, with just a little over a minute remaining, McCarron set the Battlehawks up for their game-winning field goal on an eight-play, 50-yard drive.
This season, McCarron completed 40-of-62 pass attempts for 374 yards, and three touchdowns.
McCarron made the choice to join the XFL so his kids can watch him play football. That was a decision that was admired by fans and “The Rock.”