The 2023 XFL season kicks off February 18 and XFL fans are excited to see teams clash it out on the gridiron. The XFL differs from the NFL because the XFL has fewer teams. The XFL is covered differently because of the market. Just like the USFL, the XFL is made up of former NFL players. Some players’ professional careers have been cut short. XFL players deserve attention because of what they have accomplished on the gridiron. Kalen Ballage and Deon Yelder are two players who were thrown away by the NFL and drafted by the San Antonio Brahmas.
Gridiron Heroics is covering XFL for spring football. Gridiron Heroics will be releasing articles focused on forgotten players or former standout players.
Kalen Ballage had a fantastic collegiate career at Arizona State. Ballage recorded 2,668 yards from scrimmage and scored 27 touchdowns. Ballage also scored two receiving touchdowns. The Miami Dolphins drafted Ballage in the fourth round of the 2018 draft. Ballage’s NFL career has been up and down. Ballage recorded 191 rushing yards and one touchdown in his rookie season. Ballage suffered a leg injury and was placed on injured reserve as well. Ballage signed with the New York Jets in 2020 and was waived during the same season. Ballage was signed by the Chargers as a practice squad player in 2020 and signed a one-year contract with the Steelers in 2021. Ballage recorded 665 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns in the NFL.
Kalen Ballage never got an opportunity to be the number-one running back in the NFL. Ballage’s college career didn’t translate to a productive NFL career. Despite the lack of production, Ballage has a chance to remind the world how good he is. Kalen Ballage also has the chance to be the bell cow running back for the Brahmas. Kalen Ballage should be playing with a chip on his shoulder and should have a breakout season with the San Antonio Brahmas.
Tight End Deon Yelder is another player who didn’t get to shine in the NFL. Yelder attended Western Kentucky and went undrafted in 2018. Yelder played on special teams at Western Kentucky and finally got an opportunity to show his talents until his senior season. Yelder caught 52 passes, recorded 688 receiving yards, and 8 touchdowns. Yelder was named third-team All-Conference USA as a senior.
Deon Yelder has played for the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Commanders, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, and Arizona Cardinals. Yelder won the 2020 Superbowl with the Chiefs. Yelder spent most of his career on the practice squad. Yelder caught 11 passes for 86 yards in the NFL. Yelder has an opportunity to show his receiving and blocking skills with the Brahmas. Yelder could have a breakout season and work his way back to the NFL.
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