The XFL has partnered with the NFL Alumni Academy to develop potential players for its 2023 return to the field, the league announced Monday.
The academy, founded in 2020 and run by former NFL coaches and players, operates on the grounds of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio, during the NFL season. It is one of several groups that provides training and conditioning work to unemployed players, creating a pool for NFL teams who need injury replacements or otherwise are seeking to address depth on their rosters.
At a time when the USFL has also entered a crowded spring football landscape, the XFL's deal with the NFL Alumni Academy is exclusive, the league said. The XFL will collaborate on scouting and training resources, and all players who participate in the academy this season will receive an opt-in contract to join the XFL in 2023.
The USFL is set to begin its inaugural season Saturday with approximately 350 players on its eight team rosters.
In a statement, XFL president Russ Brandon called the agreement a "monumental partnership not only for the XFL, but for the entire football ecosystem." The goal of the partnership, the league said, is to "expand player cycles," servicing both the NFL in the fall and the XFL in the spring.
NFL Alumni Academy executive director Dean Dalton said that the partnership "will have a positive ripple effect across the entire football landscape." Dalton's coaching staff was led, in 2021, by former NFL player and coach Mike Tice and also included Hall of Fame offensive lineman Anthony Munoz, All-Pro defensive end Chuck Smith and longtime NFL assistant coach Jay Hayes, among others.
In February, the XFL announced a collaboration agreement with the NFL to experiment with proposed rules, test new equipment and develop prospective officials and coaches and explore new ways to address player safety.