Battlehawks fan zeal reminds AJ McCarron of college

St. Louis Battlehawks coach Anthony Becht and six of his players took a break from training camp Saturday to meet some of the XFL team’s supporters at a fan fest at the Armory in St. Louis.

The turnout left a positive impression on Battlehawks quarterback AJ McCarron.

“The atmosphere here is amazing” McCarron said. “You can feel the passion of the fans in this city, it reminds me a lot of college. Alabama fans are passionate. I’m just excited – excited to go out on the field and win for City.”

McCarron was the starting quarterback for the Alabama teams that won the BCS national championships for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. In 2013, he became the perennial leader of the Crimson Tide, winning the Maxwell Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and coming second in picking for the Heisman Trophy.

After the NFL quit with the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans, and Atlanta Falcons and recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament he sustained in an NFL preseason game on August 21, 2021, McCarron came forward for the restart of the XFL in 2023.


St. Louis is one of five teams returning from the 2020 version of the XFL. The coronavirus pandemic ended the eight-team league’s season halfway through a 10-week schedule.

The XFL has returned with eight teams under new league ownership, including wrestler and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

The XFL is counting down to its first weekend of action on February 18-19, a week after the NFL’s Super Bowl LVII. But Battlehawks fans will have to wait until week four of the season to see their second edition XFL team on the field in the Dome at America’s Center.

St. Louis plays its first three games away from home:

At the San Antonio Brahmas on February 19 at 2:00 p.m. CST (ABC)

At the Seattle Sea Dragons on February 23 at 8:00 p.m. (in the first game of the league on Thursday night on FX)

· At the DC Defenders on March 5 at noon (FX)

The Battlehawks eventually make it home on March 12 for a 3:00 p.m. game against the Arlington Renegades, televised by ESPN2.

In addition to Becht and McCarron, fans at Saturday’s event were joined by defenseman Jonathan Alexander, wide receiver Marcell Ateman, linebacker Travis Feeney, offense lineman Steven Gonzalez and linebacker Lakiem Williams.

The XFL is operating on a hub schedule in 2023, with all teams training in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of ​​Texas, but playing every game in the home team’s city.

The plan began with a training camp, and the Battlehawks held their first practice session on January 14 at Vernon Newsom Stadium in Mansfield, Texas.

Prior to Alabama and the NFL, McCarron received All-State honors in football and baseball at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Mobile and helped the Saints win the AHSAA Class 5A Football Championship in 2007.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.