Former Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron has been making headlines in his rookie season with the XFL. So far this season, McCarron has led the St. Louis Battlehawks to a 2-0 record, both wins by way of thrilling comebacks.
While his play on the field has caught the eye of many, his reason for signing with the XFL has drawn the attention of many, including XFL owner Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. McCarron first caught the attention of Johnson in his post-game interview after leading the Battlehawks to an 18-15 comeback victory in week 1. The emotional interview went viral as McCarron is seen embracing his sons while fighting back the tears.
This is what the XFL is all about.— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) February 22, 2023
Always cuts deeper when we can identify our “why” we do what we do.
Incredible come from behind win from the @XFLBattlehawks led by QB @10AJMcCarron.
Beautiful moment brother.
Hug ‘em tight - they’re our “why” #XFL #Week1 @espn pic.twitter.com/76FkWY0DO6
After college, McCarron spent six seasons in the NFL as a backup quarterback before stepping away from the game due to a torn ACL in April 2021. After recovering from his injury, instead of returning to the NFL, where he could easily make more money holding a clipboard on the sidelines, McCarron wanted to go somewhere he could play and make memories for his sons.
“My 6-year-old loves watching tape of me on YouTube. That’s a big reason I chose to return this way,” McCarron told the St Louis Post-Dispatch. “I probably could’ve tried to come back with an NFL team and had a chance to probably made bigger money, but no one knows what the future holds. I’m enjoying this and it’s a great way to create some memories for me and my boys.”
After leading the Battlehawks to their second comeback victory in as many games, defeating the Seattle Sea Dragons 20-18 Thursday night, McCarron once again caught Johnson’s attention and received more praise.
"Now he’s 2-0 and led his team to back-to-back exciting last minute wins”, Johnson tweeted. “I’d say he’s creating some memories for his boys. AJ’s decision means a helluva lot to me, personally."
Takes less money signing with us over the @NFL because he wanted his little boys to see him play. Now he’s 2-0 and led his team to back to back exciting last minute wins. I’d say he’s creating some memories for his boys. AJ’s decision means a helluva lot to me, personally. #XFL https://t.co/AZG6EiIy9Z— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) February 24, 2023
In his post-game interview Thursday, McCarron was asked about what he would tell his boys about moments in his career like the comeback win Thursday night.
"Ever since I came out of college I’ve been counted out a little bit," McCarron said after the game. "And it’s just fun to come out here and play. I miss playing, not always just being a backup and that’s a great living. It really is and I absolutely love it but I love playing.This is special and I can't thank the XFL enough."
Man I love everything about this.— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) February 24, 2023
Can’t ever count guys like AJ out.
They play for something deeper.
I root for and say ‘thank you’ to @10AJMcCarron and all our XFL players. #XFL #KawNation https://t.co/IBRI3P6plZ
McCarron continues to impress with his play on the field and during interviews, making it hard not to root for him to succeed. While XFL owner Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has to remain impartial when it comes to having a favorite team, it’s a pretty safe bet on who his favorite player is at the moment.
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