Former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones to play in the XFL

Bill Rabinowitz
Coach Urban Meyer and quarterback Cardale Jones celebrate after Jones was named MVP of the 2014 Big Ten championship game. [Adam Cairns]

Cardale Jones is getting a fresh start to his pro football career in a reborn league.

The former Ohio State quarterback has been assigned to the D.C. Defenders of the XFL. The eight-team league starts play in February. A previous incarnation of the XFL lasted for one season in 2001.

“I felt like it was finally a chance for me to take my career into my own hands,” Jones told the Washington Post. “It’s an opportunity to go somewhere and be ‘the guy,’ instead of being on someone’s practice squad, and continuing to take the most reps, which are very important to a quarterback’s development.”

Jones will be playing in the same city as Dwayne Haskins Jr., a rookie for the Washington Redskins. Jones and Haskins were not at Ohio State at the same time. Jones’ final season was 2015 and Haskins arrived the next year.

Jones spent the last two seasons as the third-string quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers. He played well in the preseason this year, completing 28 of 41 passes for 351 yards and one touchdown but didn’t make the final roster. He briefly latched on with Seattle before the Seahawks released him.

Jones’ Ohio State story is legendary — the former third-string quarterback who led the Buckeyes on their magical postseason run to the 2014 College Football Playoff title after replacing the injured J.T. Barrett.

He opened the 2015 season as the Ohio State starter but was later replaced by Barrett. Jones was a fourth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2016. He played in one game with the Bills.

Buffalo’s general manager then was Doug Whaley, who’s now the XFL’s senior vice president of football operations.

“He put that (XFL) bug in my ear,” Jones told the Washington Post.

The Defenders will be coached by Pep Hamilton, who was the passing game coordinator for Michigan the past two years. Hamilton was an assistant with the Cleveland Browns in 2016.

The XFL is owned by wrestling magnate Vince McMahon.


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