The reviews are in for the first week of XFL action, and they are largely very good. The quality of football appears to be more than adequate, the presentation is professional and high level, and the league's format and place on the landscape lends itself to highly competitive, highly motivated players. After all, these are players that, for the most part, hope to make it back to the NFL, and players that are being paid a bonus that nearly matches their game check if they're on the winning team.
In short, it's fun having an XFL team in Houston, and it helps that they appear to be very, very good at football. For Houston fans of the NFL that are still a little hesitant to embrace the XFL, know that rosters around the league are dotted with former Houston Texans. For your benefit, I've assembled below what I think is a complete list of former Texans in the league. I might be missing a former practice squad guy or two, but the ones that matter are all there.
So here is the list, and where necessary, a summary of how they performed in Week 1 of the 2020 XFL regular season:
23 Josh Thornton CB
Thornton was in camp with the Texans in 2018, and his high point was probably a fourth down pass defended to secure a win in the preseason over the Chiefs. He had a couple tackles on Sunday for Dallas in their loss to St. Louis.
24 Treston Decoud CB
Decoud was a promising safety prospect back in 2017, but never really caught on with the Texans and was gone after one season. In his XFL debut, he had five tackles and knocked down a pass.
50 Reshard Cliett LB
Cliett is probably best known for being GUSHED over by Bill O'Brien in a coaches' film session on Hard Knocks. He would injure his knee soon thereafter, and never played a down for the Texans. He had three tackles, including a TFL, for the Renegades.
61 Maurquice Shakir G
Shakir was a camp body for the Texans in 2018 and 2019. He is the starting center for Dallas.
19 Malachi Dupre WR
Dupre spent some time on the Texans' practice squad this past season. He had two catches for 14 yards for the Defenders in Week 1.
45 Rahim Moore S
Moore was one of the worst free agency signings of the O'Brien Era. After signing a three year, $12 million deal in 2015, he was gone after one season, in which he was benched after seven games. He was BAD. Now, he is hanging on for dear life in the XFL, where he did have a pick in Week 1!
86 Khari Lee TE
Lee was probably best known, as a Texan, for his spot on impersonation of Bill O'Brien on Hard Knocks ....
For the XFL's Defenders, he had a 39 yard touchdown catch in Week 1.
93 Tracy Sprinkle DT
Sprinkle was in training camp with the Texans in 2019. He had a tackle and a QB hit in Week 1 of the XFL season.
99 Sam Montgomery DE
Oh man, Sam Montgomery! Best known for two things as a Texan, being drafted to play outside linebacker when every sane person knew he was a 4-3 defensive end and getting cut for smoking weed at the team hotel in Kansas City in Week 7 of 2013, Montgomery is still trying to make it as a football player. Good for him! He had exactly zero stats in the box score in Week 1.
10 Sammie Coates WR
Coates was on the Texans' roster in the 2018 season, and started his XFL career with two catches for 26 yards.
21 Charles James CB
James was another Hard Knocks hero, who might have been inactive on Saturday for the Roughnecks. I don't see him in the box score anywhere.
54 LaTroy Lewis LB
Lewis was a starter at the end of the disastrous 2017 season, and was a big impact player for the Roughnecks in Week 1, with two sacks, three QB hits, and two TFL's.
8 Josh Johnson QB
Now we get into the slew of former O'Brien quarterbacks working in the XFL. Josh Johnson was actually an offseason XFL story, because the Detroit Lions wanted to sign him, and the XFL wouldn't let him out of his XFL deal. As it turns out, Week 1 of the XFL season didn't see Johnson get on the field,
9 Nick Novak K
Novak was the Texans' kicker post-Randy Bullock for a couple years. On Saturday, he kicked a 35 yard field goal for the Wildcats and absorbed numerous barbs from the raucous TDECU Stadium crowd.
NEW YORK GUARDIANS
14 Matt McGloin QB
McGloin was an O'Brien special going all the way back to Penn State. On Sunday, he led New York to a 23-3 win with a passing TD and a rushing TD.
33 AJ Hendy S
Hendy was a camp body for the Texans in 2019, and had six tackles and a couple passes defended for New York on Sunday.
ST LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS
6 Heinicke, Taylor QB
10 Jordan Ta’amu QB
Wow, a team with not just one, but TWO former O'Brien quarterbacks! Heinicke was with the Texans at the end of the 2017 season, got into a Week 16 game for about a dozen snaps, and left with a concussion. He is one of two backup quarterbacks in St. Louis. Ta'amu was in camp with the Texans in 2019, signed after Joe Webb was injured, and is the starter in St. Louis. He had 77 yards rushing and 209 yards passing in his victorious debut.
17 Keith Mumphrey WR
Wow, Keith Mumphrey is back! There was a simpler time in 2015 and 2016 when Mumphrey was known for being a minimally impactful wide receiver and the least threatening punt returner in the NFL. Then, it all hit the fan in 2017. From his Wikipedia page:
On June 2, 2017, Mumphery was waived by the Houston Texans because of an allegation of sexual misconduct: the prosecutor would not press charges against Mumphery and he was cleared in the first college investigation, but a second college investigation, conducted by Michigan State College (MSU) without effectual notification to Mumphrey, found him guilty of sexual misconduct. The alleged incident occurred after Mumphrey had been graduated from MSU, while he was pursuing graduate studies and an NFL career simultaneously. Because of this, Mumphery was banned from the MSU campus until December 31, 2018. In May 2018, Mumphrey filed a lawsuit against Michigan State, which subsequently settled the case and cleared Mumphrey of any wrongdoing.
Hey, if he was truly innocent of any wrongdoing, then I'm rooting for Mumphrey. He had one catch for 12 yards in his first game, so there is plenty of work still to do.
53 Gimel President LB
President is someone I was always rooting to stick with the Texans because of the lame jokes I could make with his last name. (Dee Virgin, too. I always wanted him to make the team.) President had one tackle in his XFL debut.
7 BJ Daniels QB
Daniels was with the Texans at the end of the 2015 season, throwing two passes. He threw one incomplete pass on Saturday for Seattle.
TAMPA BAY VIPERS
31 Corey Moore S
Moore was a starter for the Texans in 2017 at safety, and probably most remembered for plays he DIDN'T make, specifically a dropped pick that could have closed out a win over the Patriots and then a touchdown allowed a few plays later to lose the game. I don't see him on Saturday's XFL box score.