The epitaph of the XFL was written by many quickly after its only spring season in 2001.
Little did anyone know that nearly 13 full years later, that epitaph would need a re-write.
Denver Broncos linebacker Paris Lenon is the last remaining active National Football League player who played in the XFL. He also most likely will be the Broncos’ starting middle linebacker Sunday night – just as he has been every game since early December.
Lenon, who finished 10th on the Memphis Maniax’ defense in total tackles in the spring of 2001, has fashioned quite a career for himself, mostly as a starter, in his 12 NFL seasons since. He’s played for the Green Bay Packers (2002-05), Detroit Lions (2006-08), St. Louis Rams (2009), Arizona Cardinals (2010-12) and the Broncos, starting roughly two-thirds of his 189 regular-season games played.
Interestingly, Lenon won’t be the only former member of the only Maniax squad on the MetLife Stadium field come Sunday night. The Seattle Seahawks’ wide receivers coach, Kippy Brown, was Lenon’s Head Coach in Memphis. Brown was an assistant coach in the NFL for nine seasons before the XFL, and has been for 11 seasons since.
Lenon and Brown aren’t the only spring professional football ties in Super Bowl XLVIII.
- Broncos Head Coach John Fox began his professional football coaching career as an assistant with the United States Football League’s Los Angeles Express in 1985.
- Seahawks quarterbacks coach Carl Smith was an assistant for three seasons (1983-85) with the USFL’s Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars.
- Broncos assistant secondary coach Sam Garnes was the defensive backs coach for the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe in 2006.
- Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson started all 10 regular-season games for the Centurions in 2007, and was an all-NFL Europa selection.
Dusty Sloan is the A11 Professional Football League’s Senior Editor/Vice President of Editorial Content.