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XFL hires Doug Whaley to run football operations

Cleveland Browns v Buffalo Bills

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 30: General Manager Doug Whaley of the Buffalo Bills watches warm ups before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 30, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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Doug Whaley surely would like to get back in the NFL. For now, he’ll have a prominent role in the XFL.

The upstart league, which launches in 2020, has announced that Whaley, the former Bills G.M., will serve as the Senior V.P. of Football Operations.
“Based on his passion for all aspects of football, his intellect and vast experience as an NFL General Manager, we believe that Doug is the perfect choice to lead the XFL’s Football Operations,” XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck said in a press release. “The quality of the on-field product is paramount to the XFL’s success, and Doug, who is tech-savvy and a firm believer in analytics, brings football credibility and a strong work ethic to the team. I’m excited to begin working with him as we reimagine the game.”

“I would like to thank Oliver for giving me the opportunity to help bring their vision for the XFL to life,” Whaley said. “I’m excited to get started knowing we have a lot of work ahead of us. Nothing is more important than developing a fun, fast-paced game that football fans will embrace, and I look forward to making this challenge a reality.”

Whaley, who was fired by the Bills after the 2017 draft, made headlines in 2016 for this quote about the sport: “This is the game of football. Injuries are part of it. It’s a violent game that I personally don’t think humans are supposed to play.” He described the comments as “a poor choice of words” the next day.

When Vince McMahon announced the return of the XFL in January, he said that the resurrected renegade league will be sensitive to player health and safety. But McMahon also said that the XFL will give fans what they want. Plenty of fans want old-school football, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the XFL pivot in this direction, especially if the league struggles to establish a financial footing.