When it comes to the XFL, there are a lot of notable players that really made a name for themselves. Some of these notable players included league MVP and Los Angeles quarterback Tommy Maddox, who signed with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers after the XFL folded. Maddox later became the starting quarterback for the Steelers in 2002 and led them to that year’s playoffs, as well as continuing to start for them into 2004.
Another notable and a really well-known player was Las Vegas running back Rod Smart, who first gained popularity because of the name on the back of his jersey that read “He Hate Me.” Smart, who was only picked 357th in the draft, later went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, Oakland Raiders and the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL. His Panther teammate Jake Delhomme named his newborn horse “She Hate Me” as a reference to him. Smart played in Super Bowl XXXVIII becoming one of seven XFL players to play in a Super Bowl.
The original XFL was a lot like the WWE as commentators from the WWE also did commentary for the XFL and there was a lot of violence. But if asked is there any player from the XFL that wrestled for the WWE? Only one name comes in mind and that is Richard Young (Also Known As Ricky Ortiz in the WWE). Aside from the WWE and the XFL, Richard Young also had a career in the Canadian Football League (CFL), the Arena Football League (AFL), and the National Football League (NFL).
After college, Young went to training camp of the 1998 season with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and was on the team’s practice squad during the season. After the year, he went to the Canadian Football League (CFL) and played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons in the Arena Football League with the Milwaukee Mustangs. In the AFL, Young played both fullback and linebacker. Following the AFL, Young joined the short-lived XFL with the Orlando Rage. After the league folded, Young attempted to make the Jacksonville Jaguars roster, but was waived during training camp. He rejoined the AFL, this time with the Indiana Firebirds, in 2002. He would spend the next two years in Indiana before joining the Colorado Crush in 2004. In 2003, he led all AFL middle linebackers with 4.0 sacks.
Young wrestled on the developmental company of the WWE under the ring name Atlas DaBone from 2006-2008. In 2008, Young made his WWE debut as a face under the name Atlas Ortiz on the ECW brand, winning his first match against Armando Estrada. The next week on ECW, Tazz and Mike Adamle referred to him as Ricky Ortiz. In 2009, Ortiz was drafted to the SmackDown brand as part of the 2009 Supplemental Draft. On the May 15 episode of SmackDown, Ortiz made his debut for the brand as a heel, losing to Jeff Hardy. His last match for WWE was the August 7 episode of SmackDown, where he was squashed by The Great Khali. He was released from his WWE contract on August 8, 2009. Young then wrestled on the independent circuit from 2009-2013.
Even though Vince McMahon said that there will be no connection whatsoever between the new XFL and the WWE, it will be interesting to see if there will be any player from the XFL who will wrestle for the WWE and if there will be any wrestler from the WWE who will play for the XFL.
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