by Matt Duda - XFL.com Reporter
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.