The newly-created football league known as the XFL began play this past weekend, with two games on Saturday and two on Sunday. One of the early stars was Austin Proehl, a wide receiver for the Seattle Dragons who caught two touchdown passes in a 31-19 loss to the D.C. Defenders, including the league’s first touchdown ever.
The play came in the first quarter with Seattle on the Defenders’ 14-yard line. Proehl lined up in the slot, faked inside and then continued up the field, where quarterback Brandon Silvers found him for the score.
Proehl immediately took a knee in prayer after the touchdown reception. And in a sideline interview after the play — a unique characteristic of the XFL — Proehl recognized that the opportunity to make XFL history was a gift from God:
— Sports Spectrum (@Sports_Spectrum) February 8, 2020
“It’s a blessing,” Proehl said as he sported crosses drawn in eye black on both cheeks. “A blessing from God. You know, it wouldn’t be possible without all these (teammates) sitting next to me.”
In the third quarter, Proehl found the end zone again. Silvers hit Proehl on a short pass to the right and he outran the rest of the Defenders’ defense for a 57-yard score, tying the game at 19. However, down 25-19 in the fourth quarter, a pass intended for Proehl was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, sealing the game for the Defenders. Proehl finished the game with five receptions for 88 yards and the two touchdowns.
Proehl does not shy away from his faith on social media. On Twitter, Proehl’s bio says “Walk by Faith” and mentions Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”
The son of former super-bowl-winning St. Louis Rams wide receiver Ricky Proehl, Austin was drafted out of North Carolina in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft by Buffalo. He spent time with the Bills, Titans and Rams before being drafted by the Seattle Dragons of the XFL.
The XFL is owned by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment. McMahon is the majority owner, chairman and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and the founder of Alpha Entertainment. The 2020 version of the XFL is similar to the original XFL that operated for a single season in 2001. The hope for the new XFL is that the league can gain national interest and respect with well-known players and coaches and a few fresh rule changes. It will not compete with the NFL for viewership, as the XFL season begins after the Super Bowl.
The eight-team XFL will have a 10-week regular season followed by a two-week postseason. The champion will be crowned April 26.
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