XFL officially cancels season, players can soon sign with NFL teams

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XFL officially cancels season, players can soon sign with NFL teams

The XFL has made the choice to cancel the remainder of the season. 

The news comes nearly a week after the league decided to suspend play of the inaugural season due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Here’s a look at the full statement from the XFL from Commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck and President and COO Jeffrey N. Pollack: 

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the most recent local and state regulations, have left the XFL no choice but to officially cancel the remainder of the 2020 season. This decision has been made with the health and safety of the entire XFL family as our top priority.

While we are disappointed to not complete the 2020 season, our hearts are full of appreciation for your overwhelming support.

Your passion, your commitment to your favorite XFL team and your love of football made our season a success beyond our wildest dreams. We're grateful for the incredible response and look forward to playing full seasons for you -- and with you --  in 2021 and beyond.

When our teams return to the field, we'll make every effort to ensure your faith in us is rewarded with even more fun and excitement. Your passion is our purpose, and everything we do, every day and for every season to come, is For the Love of Football. 

We hope you will stay connected to our league and team social and digital channels for news, features, and updates along the way. 

From all of us at the XFL, be safe, stay healthy, and, again, thank you. Here's to 2021!

Kevin Seifert of ESPN said the NFL can now begin signing players on Monday, March 23 at 6:00 a.m. PT.  

“Any player who wants to sign an NFL or CFL contract starting Monday will be released from his XFL contract. If a player is asked to participate in an NFL or CFL workout, the XFL will continue to pay the player after signing a waiver and release form,” Seifert said. 

The Seahawks are said to be one of several teams interested in XFL Houston Roughnecks standout P.J. Walker, per Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston. The 25-year-old signal caller took Houston to a 5-0 record and completed 65 percent of his passes throws for 1,338 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. 

The Seahawks are currently without a backup quarterback to Russell Wilson. Geno Smith’s contract expired on March 18, making him a free agent.  

XFL Seattle Dragons player tests positive for COVID-19

XFL Seattle Dragons player tests positive for COVID-19

According to Tom Schad of USA Today Sports, a member of the Seattle Dragons has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The player has yet to be identified, but reportedly did play in Seattle's latest game against the Houston Roughnecks.

"He was asymptomatic at that time," according to the XFL.

In a statement to USA Today Sports, the league said: "The league is alerting players, staff, vendors and partners associated with the Dragons, Roughnecks, and (St. Louis) BattleHawks, as this player also participated in the February 29 game in St. Louis. The XFL is monitoring the situation closely and taking every measure necessary in accordance with recommendations set forth by the CDC." 

The XFL also told USA Today Sports that the player received a test "as soon as possible" and got the results back on Friday, less than 24 hours after the suspension of the XFL season.

[RELATED: XFL to cancel season due to COVID-19 concerns]

The XFL followed the footsteps of the NBA, MLS, and NHL in postponing or canceling their seasons in wake of trying to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. The XFL did announce that players would be paid their full wages and benefits, as well as the league plans to start up again in time for the 2021 season.

XFL to cancel season due to COVID-19 concerns

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XFL to cancel season due to COVID-19 concerns

Following the NBA, NHL and MLS’ decision to suspend all games effective immediately, the XFL will follow suit.

According to a statement from the XFL, the league will not play its regular season games and the season has been canceled. 

"The XFL is commited to playing a full season in 2021 and future years," the statement said. 

All players, however, will continue to be paid a base salary in benefits for their contributions in 2020. XFL season ticket holders will be issued refunds or credit toward future games. 

Former Seattle Seahawks player, now Seattle Dragons wide receiver Keenan Reynolds seemingly confirmed the news before it was announced Thursday. 

“Welp…it’s been real @xfl2020.”

The Seattle Dragons announced Wednesday that they would play Sunday’s home game against the Los Angeles Wildcats in front of empty stadium at CenturyLink Field.

The changes came after Washington Govenor Jay Inslee’s ban of gatherings of more than 250 people in effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Now instead of the Dragons game being played without fans in the building, it won’t be played at all. 

Coronavirus outbreak forces Seattle-area sports to postpone or play without fans

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Coronavirus outbreak forces Seattle-area sports to postpone or play without fans

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday the state of Washington will implement new community strategies and social distancing plans to minimize exposure of COVID-19. 

Events taking place in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties with more than 250 people, including sporting events, will now be prohibited by the state. The newest measure will restrict sports gatherings for the rest of March.

Following Inslee’s ban on large group events, Seattle-area sports teams announced changes to their games. The Seattle Dragons will play without fans at CenturyLink Field, while the Seattle Sounders have moved an upcoming match on March 21. 

Here’s a look at how the latest restrictions will impact the area’s teams: 

Mariners on the move 

The Seattle Mariners, who were set to begin the 2020 MLB season with a seven-game homestand against the Texas Rangers, are working with the league to move the opening series. They will move March home games to another location, yet to be determined. Reports circulated that the Mariners could play games in Arizona, but this has yet to be confirmed by the league. 

“While we hope to be back to playing baseball in Seattle as soon as possible, the health and safety of our community is the most important consideration.”

Dragons to play without fans

The league announced Wednesday that Sunday’s game between the Seattle Dragons and Los Angeles Wildcats will be played without fans in the building. This is a huge loss for the XFL, as the Dragons have attracted crowds of 20,000-plus in each of their two home games. 

“Based on the proclamation issues Wednesday by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, the Seattle Dragons will host the LA Wildcats this Sunday, as scheduled,” XFL president and COO Jeffrey Pollack said in a statement. “The game will take place at 4 p.m. PT at CenturyLink Field without fans in the venue. The game will be broadcast live, also as scheduled, on ESPN2.”

The Dragons said the team will issue refunds to single-game ticket holders, and season ticket holders will be offered refunds or credit toward a future Dragons’ game during the 2021 XFL season. 

Sounders game postponed

The Seattle Sounders have made a decision to postpone their match on March 21 against FC Dallas at CenturyLink Field. The Sounders have said the club will continue consistent dialogue with leadership, health officials and MLS, and as more information becomes available, they will share with the public. 

“Throughout this process, Sounders FC has stated that nothing is more important than public safety and the wellbeing of our fans. With that in mind, we respect the difficult decision that has been made today, and our club will continue following the guidelines set forth by our public health authorities and government agencies.”

Defiance to play behind closed doors

The Tacoma Defiance will play their second match of the season against the San Diego Loyal squad at Cheney Stadium, however the game will be closed to the public. 

“With San Diego Loyal’s squad already in town to play the contest, we have been in touch with the United Soccer League, regional government agencies and health authorities about the best path forward. Because Cheney Stadium will be closed to the public, it has been deemed safe to proceed with Tacoma Defiance’s second match of the season.”

Seawolves await decision 

The Seattle Seawolves professional rugby team says two of their upcoming matches will be affected: March 21, 2010 against the Houston Sabercats and March 29, 2020 against the Colorado Raptors. Both games were scheduled to take place at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila. 

The team has said it is working with Major League Rugby to create an action plan for the affected matches and will provide updates when plans are confirmed. 

“While this decision comes at time of global unease, the health and safety of our fans, players, and the entire Seawolves organization is our number one priority.”

Rainiers home opener could be impacted

The Tacoma Rainers, Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, announced Wednesday that it will continue working with the Pacific Coast League to determine flexibility within the schedule, should a shutdown continue past the March deadline. The Rainiers schedule is expected to begin on April 9 at Cheney Stadium. 

The team says ticket buyers will not be charged for any game that is not played at Cheney Stadium, nor any games that will be closed to the public. 

“Our hope is to play our entire Rainiers home season as scheduled and we are excited to open the gates to Cheney Stadium without health concerns as soon as possible,” Rainiers president Aaron Artman said in a statement. 

At this time, Washington’s coronavirus death total is at 26. The new statewide case number, as reported by the Department of Health, and local health districts is 284. 

Washington Gov. Inslee to ban gatherings of more than 250 people, sporting events impacted

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Washington Gov. Inslee to ban gatherings of more than 250 people, sporting events impacted

Just days after Gov. Jay Inslee said the spread of the coronavirus could have an impact on sporting events in the state, he is expected to announce new community strategies to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in Washington State. 

According to The Seattle Times, Inslee will announce Wednesday the restriction of gatherings of more than 250 people, including sporting events, to stop the spread of COVID-19. Washington has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States with 267 confirmed cases in the state and 29 total fatalities, as of Tuesday night. 

Inslee has since confirmed the ban of sporting events of more than 250 people in his Wednesday morning press conference.

The ban will apply to Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, which are home to nearly 4 million people. 

Here’s a look at some of the major sporting events that could be modified or canceled: 

- The Seattle Mariners are set to begin their MLB season with a seven-game homestand on March 26. According to The Athletic’s Evan Drellich, the Mariners could host their regular-season games in Arizona if state officials in Washington decide to implement restrictions on public events. 

- The Seattle Dragons have two more games at CenturyLink Field in the 2020 XFL season on March 22 and April 11. A statement from King County shared that a part-time stadium employee at a Dragons match on Feb. 22 tested positive for COVID-19, but shared the risk to employees was low. 

- After playing two games at CenturyLink Field in early March, the Seattle Sounders will travel to Houston this week to face the Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Their next match in Seattle is currently set for March 21. vs. FC Dallas. Seattle saw a lower number of fans than usual in green and blue at last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew. MLS has already announced it will temporarily ban reporters from postgame locker rooms. 

- Spokane, Wash., is scheduled to host the first and second round of the men’s NCAA March Madness Tournament on March 19-21. On Tuesday, the NCAA said it will continue to “assess how COVID-19 impacts the conduct of our tournaments and events.” Spokane is not located in the three counties this ban applies to, and is not yet impacted. 

Report: Seattle Dragons game employee tests positive for COVID-19

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Report: Seattle Dragons game employee tests positive for COVID-19

The XFL was hoping football fans would catch Seattle Dragons fever, not COVID-19.

According to Seattle Times reporter Lewis Kamb, a concession vendor who works part-time at CenturyLink Field has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The employee last worked at the Dragons game on Feb. 22 and is said to be a vendor for Field & Goal Hospitality, which has operated at CenturyLink since 2017. 

Kamb says James Apa, a public health spokesman for King County, said the risk of infection to attendees from this person is low. 

“There are no extra precautions…required for those who attended the Feb. 22 game or who will attend upcoming events,” Apa told The Seattle Times. “But all King County residents should know that the risk of infection of COVID-19 is increasing in our community.”

XFL President and COO Jeffrey Pollack released this statement on Thursday:

The health and safety of the extended XFL family – especially our fans in Seattle – is of the utmost importance. We share everyone’s concern about this public health issue and understand it is evolving on a daily basis.

The news comes less than 48 hours after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the spread of the coronavirus could have an impact on public events, including sports gatherings

“We are starting to consider that and have been now for some period of time,” Inslee said. “So, what we are doing is evaluating the legal requirements that are involved in making a decision like that and we are socializing people to the possibility of that.”

As of now, Seattle teams and programs are carrying on as normal, but closely monitoring public health developments both locally and nationally.

As of Thursday, Washington has 70 coronavirus cases, up 39 from Wednesday, and the death toll increased to 11. 

Here's how the coronavirus could impact sporting events in Washington, Oregon

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Here's how the coronavirus could impact sporting events in Washington, Oregon

COVID-19 has hit the Pacific Northwest. 

At least 10 people from Washington State have died from what is better known as the coronavirus. Some schools and public events have closed or been cancelled amid concerns of the outbreak and further spread, and sporting events could be next. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee joined Seattle Morning News on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM on Thursday and acknowledged the spread of the coronavirus could have an impact on sports in the state. 

“We are starting to consider that and have been now for some period of time,” Inslee said. “So, what we are doing is evaluating the legal requirements that are involved in making a decision like that and we are socializing people to the possibility of that.”

Inslee said they have currently not made any decisions to limit public events, including sporting events, but it could be a measure the state could eventually implement. 

“It would be a hierarchy of things. The first thing would be to legally prohibit gatherings over a certain number. That can be done by the emergency powers by the governor in statute. To talk about things that are not necessary in our lives, meaning entertainment and sports and political gatherings, I suppose, that are not intrinsic to our economy or our education.”

Washington events that could be impacted

If the state did choose to shut down sporting events in Washington State, it would have an effect on a number of major sports teams. The Seattle Mariners, for example, are set to begin the MLB season with a seven-game homestand beginning on March 26. 

"Currently, we are following guidance from public health authorities and our medical staff to provide training and resources to safeguard the health and well-being of our staff and provide a safe and sanitary facility for the start of the season in four weeks,” the Mariners said in a statement. “This is an evolving situation and we’ll continue to keep fans updated by email, social media and our website."

The Seattle Dragons have three more games at CenturyLink Field this season on March 15, March 22 and April 11. Spokane, Washington is also scheduled to host the first and second-round of the men’s NCAA March Madness Tournament March 19-21.

Some basketball games around the Seattle area have already been effected. The University of Missouri-Kansas City, as well as Chicago State, announced its men’s team would not travel to Seattle University because of coronavirus concerns. 

While the Seattle Sounders are scheduled to host Columbus Crew SC on Saturday, there has been no indication that the game won’t go on as planned. The team’s MLS season opener against Chicago Fire FC continued to draw large crowds. Sounders goalie Stefan Frei was seen signing autographs and personal items for fans. 

“Sounders FC is part of both a regional task force and Major League Soccer’s task force to monitor this developing situation,” the club said in a statement. “As matters evolve and more information becomes available, we will continue to provide relevant details to the public.”

The Seattle Sounders next games at home are against Columbus Crew on March 7 and FC Dallas on March 21. 

Oregon prepares

Just 174 miles south on the I-5 corridor, the Portland Trail Blazers are also taking precautions to keep their players safe. The NBA sent out a memo to all 30 teams advising players to avoid high-fives and offer fist-bumps when interracting with fans.

Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum took to Twitter to let fans know he would not be signing autographs until further notice. 

"You just have to be careful," McCollum told NBCS Northwest. "Obviously, it’s affecting people, especially who are displaying weaker immune systems, people over 60. Wash your hands; try to reduce contact with outsiders and outside germs."

The Blazers have 19 games remaining in the regular season, including 11 at home, over the final six weeks of the season. 

“We continue to monitor the situation closely and will keep guests informed of any changes to scheduled events at Moda Center or Veterans Memorial Coliseum,” the Trail Blazers’ statement said. "We have increased the frequency of disinfecting high touchpoint areas on campus, provided additional hand sanitizing stations, switched to anti-bacterial soap and have distributed informational preventative health flyers throughout the campus."

The Portland Timbers hosted their season-opener on Sunday night against Minnesota and will play their next match on March 8 at Providence Park. The team says they will continue to monitor COVID-19 concerns. 

“The Timbers have a very robust and thorough housekeeping program in place at Providence Park," the Timbers said in a statement. "We have bolstered our efforts by installing additional hand sanitizing stations and deploying a crew to disinfect surfaces throughout every match night. We encourage fans to wash their hands frequently, and if not feeling well, please stay home. We remain in close contact with local and national health authorities and are monitoring the situation closely.”

The Moda Center will also be home to 2020 NCAA women's basketball tournament Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds, which will be played on March 28 and 30. The West Regional will draw fans and teams from across the country. 

Extra hand sanitizer stations and increased cleaning procedures have been implemented at the Rose Quarter to educate spectators about preventative health. 

While many sporting events in the Pacific Northwest have not been canceled, moved or postponed yet, the ramifications of the coronavirus have disrupted other areas of the world.

Club soccer in Italy will be held without spectators until at least April 3, while Switzerland suspended games until March 23 as club's refused to play in front of stadiums without fans. China's World Cup qualifying games have been moved to Thailand and the LPGA Tour canceled its events in China, Singapore and Thailand in February and March. 

Seattle Dragons season tickets soar past 10,000 in sales

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Seattle Dragons season tickets soar past 10,000 in sales

The Seattle Dragons continue to dominate the XFL in attendance.

Just days after the Dragons set a league record with 29,172 in attendance at their home opener against the Tampa Bay Vipers, Seattle has surged past 10,000 in season-ticket sales, according to a report from The Seattle Times.

“We have had a spike in demand and we surged past 10,000 season tickets, which is an awesome story for us and the most in the league,” Dragons president Ryan Gustafson told the Seattle Times. “We’re continuing to build it every day. We’re grateful for the support we’ve gotten so far and excited to continue to build this, not just for this year but many years to come.”

As we mentioned earlier this week, the presence of former Seahawks, like receiver Kasen Williams and tackle Isaiah Battle, as well as players with Pacific Northwest ties, appears to have benefited the Dragons franchise.

XFL attendance increased across the league from Week 1 to Week 2 thanks to the Dragons impressive outing at CenturyLink Field.

A crowd of 20,000 decked out in orange, navy and green are expected again this week as the Dragons welcome the Dallas Renegades in Week 3.

XFL attendance increases by nearly 10 percent thanks to Seattle Dragons game 

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XFL attendance increases by nearly 10 percent thanks to Seattle Dragons game 

The love of football runs deep in Seattle. 

An XFL record of 29,172 fans decked out in green, navy blue and orange came out to cheer on the Seattle Dragons as they defeated the Tampa Bay Vipers 17-9 in their home opener at CenturyLink Field. 

Per Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily, the XFL saw a big boost in attendance thanks to Seattle. Approximately 76,285 fans attended four games across the XFL this weekend, a 9.5 percent boost from Week 1 to Week 2. 

There are two likely reasons for Seattle’s solid attendance numbers. One, football is woven into the Seattle football community’s DNA. There’s a reason why the Seahawks have the “12th man,” and CenturyLink Field has long been known as one of the loudest stadiums across the NFL. 

Also, the Seattle Dragons boast a team with many former Seahawks players. Dragons head coach Jim Zorn, receivers Keenan Reynolds and Kasen Williams, left tackle Isaiah Battle, backup quarterback B.J. Daniels and reserve cornerback Mohammed Seisay all have ties to the Pacific Northwest and to the Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Defenders had two former Seahawks: defensive end Tavaris Barners and quarterback Cardale Jones on their roster. 

The Dragons are back at CenturyLink Field in Week 3, hosting the Dallas Renegades. If Seattle sees a similar crowd, and the St. Louis BattleHawks, who are playing at home for the first time, get a significant boost, it could be another big week for the revamped XFL. 

The Seahawks most famous play lives on in XFL

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The Seahawks most famous play lives on in XFL

We all remember the Seattle Seahawks infamous goal-line interception.

With 25 seconds to play in Super Bowl XLIX, quarterback Russell Wilson, instead of handing the ball off to running back Marshawn Lynch at the 1-yard line, threw a slant over the middle that was picked off by Malcolm Butler to give the New England Patriots the victory. The Seahawks were 36 inches away from back-to-back titles. 

It’s been four years since Wilson’s controversial throw at the 1-yard line, but the curse lives on.

Enter the Seattle Dragons. The XFL’s team saw many things in their league debut against the D.C. Defenders on Saturday: punt blocks, big hits, oh…and the famous Seattle goal-line interception.

Yes, the legendary play lives on.

“A few errors can really affect the game, and we have to overcome those," Dragons coach Jim Zorn during his postgame press conference.

It’s better for the Seattle Dragons to face adversity now rather than later...you know, like when they are competing for XFL Championship Game. The Dragons, who fell 31-19 to the Defenders, are at CenturyLink Field for their home opener on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m. There are still tickets available for those who hope to attend.