New England Patriots

New England Patriots

That’s right, the XFL is back! The league’s third iteration is no longer run by WWE mogul Vince McMahon, but instead was sold to a group led by former wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who will serve as commissioner.

Set to begin play next weekend with an eight-team, 10-week format, the league announced the initial 51-man rosters for each team. Included on those initial rosters are a number of former Patriots, including one who played a key role during the team’s most recent Super Bowl season.

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  • Josh Gordon, now 31 years old, will make his return to professional football when he takes the field with the Seattle Sea Dragons next Sunday. The Sea Dragons will play the final game of Week 1, against the DC Defenders.

    Gordon’s football journey has been a wild one. Drafted in the supplemental draft in 2012, he burst onto the scene as a first-team All-Pro with the Cleveland Browns in 2013 when he caught 87 passes for a league-leading 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in just 14 games. However, substance abuse suspensions limited him to playing just 10 total games over the next four years, while missing the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons.

    Early in the 2018 season – his first full year back – Gordon was traded to the Patriots in mid-September for a fifth-round pick. During the middle part of the season Gordon played a key role in the Patriots’ offense, and totaled 40 catches for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games. He also was on the receiving end of Tom Brady’s 500th touchdown pass.

  • That proved to be the high-point of Gordon’s time with the Patriots. In December, he stepped away from the game to focus on his mental health, and it was later reported he was receiving another suspension from the NFL. He returned to play six games in 2019, but was placed on IR then released in October.

    Since then, Gordon has had brief stints with the Seahawks, Chiefs, and Titans, with another suspension mixed in during that time. He appeared in two games for Tennessee this past season, but didn’t record a catch.

    This won’t be the first time Gordon goes to an alternate league to continue his career either. In the spring of 2021 he signed with the indoor Fan Controlled Football League, where he played in two games with former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.

  • Whether or not this stint will help Gordon land a more solid role in the NFL in 2023 is doubtful. But he’s a tremendous talent, and it will be cool to see him out on the field doing his thing once again.

    Gordon isn’t the only former Patriot taking part in the XFL. Other names Patriots fans might remember include quarterback/wide receiver D’Eriq King (DC Defenders), wide receiver Chad Hansen (DC Defenders), offensive lineman Antonio Garcia (Vegas Vipers), defensive lineman Trent Harris (Houston Roughnecks), and cornerbacks Will Likely (Houston Roughnecks) De’Vante Bausby (Arlington Renegades) and Cre’Von LeBlanc (Arlington Renegades).

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at

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