Tampa Bay Vipers quarterback Aaron Murray (11) calls out before the ball is snapped during an XFL game against the New York Guardians, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. The New York Guardians won 23-3.
Photo: Steve Luciano/AP
Photo: Steve Luciano/AP

Aaron Murray struggles in XFL debut

For a second straight year, Aaron Murray started at quarterback for a league that wasn’t the NFL. And again he struggled.

Murray, an SEC record passer during his four years at Georgia, appeared in six games, passing for 1,048 yards, 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, for the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football last year. The league folded before concluding its first season.

On Sunday, Murray made his debut for his hometown Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL, which are part of the eight-team league founded by wrestling magnate Vince McMahon. The league, which has rules different than the NFL, is the successor of McMahon’s XFL venture that lasted one season in 2001. 

Murray went 16 of 34 for 231 yards with two costly interceptions against the New York Guardians.

It wasn’t all bad for Murray. Late in the second quarter, Murray connected with tight end Nick Truesdell, who dazzled with a one-handed catch for a 28-yard gain.

A high school All-American at Plant, Fla., Murray was recruited by Georgia where as a four-year starter he became the SEC’s all-time leader in completions (921), passing yards (13,166) and passing touchdowns (121). He holds two school single-season passing touchdown records — 36, in 2012, and 35, in 2011.

Murray was replaced by Quinton Flowers — a former quarterback at South Florida who spent time on the practice squads of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts — in the second half, offering some dazzle of his own.

The Guardians won 23-3. 

Former Falcons head coach (1990-93) Jerry Glanville, who at 78-years-old coaches Tampa’s defense, caught the attention of social media for wearing two headsets during the game.

While with the Falcons, Glanville was known for an extravagant style that included cowboy hats and belt buckles the size of salad plates.

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