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17 former Green Bay Packers are set to start on XFL opening weekend

Surprisingly, quarterback Brett Hundley is expected to be on the bench

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Just because the Super Bowl has been played doesn’t mean that football has to be over. That’s the pitch that the third version of the XFL is making as they’re set to kick off another attempt at a spring league this weekend.

Seven of the eight teams in the league have released their depth charts for Week 1, with the exception being the Houston Roughnecks — who roster the likes of former training camp fan favorite Jack Heflin. Let’s take a look at which former Green Bay Packers are expected to earn playing time in the league that will have games broadcast on ABC, FX and the ESPN family of networks this season.

Arlington Renegades (5)

  • RB Keith Ford
  • TE Sal Cannella
  • LT George Moore
  • 3-4 OLB Aaron Adeoye
  • CB Josh Hawkins

The Arlington Renegades, formerly known as the Dallas Renegades, named both Keith Ford and De’Veon Smith as co-starters at the running back position. Ford spent two years in the NFL with three teams, which led to 21 carries for 79 yards with the Buffalo Bills as a rookie. Ford’s most recent stop in the NFL was in the 2019 training camp with the Packers.

The most familiar name on the Renegades roster for Packers fans very well might be cornerback Josh Hawkins, who played in 26 games and made three starts for Green Bay over the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Arlington will be starting another former Packers defender, 3-4 outside linebacker Aaron Adeoye, who had two stints with Green Bay’s practice squad in 2021 after being released from the New York Jets that summer.

Elsewhere on the offensive side of the ball, two members of the Packers’ 2022 training camp roster — Sal Cannella and George Moore — earned starting nods for the Renegades. Cannella, a converted receiver, joined Green Bay off of a standout USFL campaign with the New Orleans Breakers. Moore, who was signed as a rookie undrafted free agent last year, will be Arlington’s starting blindside tackle.

DC Defenders (4)

  • TE Ethan Wolf
  • G Cody Conway
  • 5-2 DE Fadol Brown
  • S Kentrell Brice

The name Packers fans will most likely remember from this list is safety Kentrell Brice, who played in 36 games and made 14 starts for Green Bay from 2016 to 2018. Since his run in Green Bay, Brice has been signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Dragons (XFL), Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, Saskatchewan Roughriders (CFL) and now DC Defenders.

For whatever reason, the Defenders listed five defensive linemen and just two linebackers on their Week 1 depth chart, which could suggest that Fadol Brown’s defensive end designation is closer to a 3-4 outside linebacker’s role. Brown was a Packer from December 2018 until October 2019 and played in eight games over two seasons with the team.

Offensively, Green Bay is represented by tight end Ethan Wolf and guard Cody Conway. Wolf was on the Packers’ practice squad for about a week in 2019 while Conway was signed to the practice squad in November of the same year, signed a futures contract in 2020 and was waived by the team during final cuts. Conway later visited Green Bay in January of 2021, signifying that the team kept their eyes on the lineman. Set to start at guard, Conway was a second-round pick by the Defenders in their November draft.

Las Vegas Vipers (2)

  • WR Geronimo Allison
  • S Marwin Evans

Geronimo Allison is easily the most notable offensive skill player with a Packers background set to start in the XFL. From 2016 to 2019, Allison played in 46 games and made 15 starts for Green Bay, registering 89 receptions for 1,045 yards and six touchdown catches. Allison was even brought back to the Packers for a visit in November of last year when injuries at receiver began to stack up.

Safety Marwin Evans should also ring a bell for Packers fans, as he played in 32 games and made a start over the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The Oak Creek, Wisconsin native has since signed contracts with the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Renegades (XFL), Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) and now the Vegas Vipers.

It has been reported that former Green Bay draft pick quarterback Brett Hundley is the highest-paid player in the XFL, signing a reported $200,000 contract to play spring football with the Vipers. For whatever reason, though, Luis Perez — who has extensive experience as a spring league passer — has received the starting nod as Vegas’ quarterback in Week 1.

Orlando Guardians (1)

  • 3-3 DT Gerald Willis

The Orlando Guardians, who have moved from New York since the last edition of the XFL, are apparently going to run a 3-3-5 defense, which is rare at the professional level. In the secondary, their three safety positions are listed as “FS”, “Dragon” and “Bandit” on their initial depth chart.

The lone former Packer set to start for the Guardians is Gerald Willis, the younger brother of former All-Pro safety Landon Collins. Willis spent April through July of 2020 on Green Bay’s 90-man camp roster. The 27-year-old was not on a roster between his stints with the Packers and his selection by the Guardians in November’s draft.

San Antonio Brahmas (2)

  • TE Alize Mack
  • 4-3 DE Delontae Scott

Delontae Scott got his first shot at an NFL opportunity when he signed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent out of SMU in 2020. He spent his entire rookie season on the team’s practice squad but was waived the next season during final cutdowns and was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Pittsburgh, he was once activated to the main roster in 2021 but spent most of his campaign on the practice squad.

Alize Mack, like Sal Cannella, is another starting tight end in the XFL who spent the 2022 training camp in Green Bay. Mack was waived with an injury designation in late August and was quickly released from the injured reserve in early September. Prior to his injury, Mack was working with the second-team offense in the preseason and even received a few first-team snaps on special teams units.

Seattle Sea Dragons (2)

  • G Michal Menet
  • K Dominik Eberle

Michael Menet was a 2021 draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals who the Packers signed to their practice squad in December of that year. Menet would then sign a futures deal with Green Bay and spent camp with the Packers, which led to a release during 2022 final cuts. He did end up re-signing with the team’s practice squad in December of 2022 but did not sign a futures deal with the team. He has a background as both a center and guard and is a player that Green Bay’s front office is probably keeping an eye on.

Kicker Dominik Eberle also had a cup of coffee with the 2022 Packers, where he was signed to from February until June. Eberle ended up joining the Detroit Lions, where he played one regular season game last season.

St. Louis BattleHawks (1)

  • WR Darrius Shepherd

The final player on our list is receiver Darrius Shepherd, the original North Dakota State Bison wideout that the Packers signed back in 2019. After joining the team as an undrafted free agent, Shepherd would go on to play in 14 games over the 2019 and 2020 seasons as a kick return specialist. Since his time in Green Bay, Shepherd has signed with seven more football teams in three leagues. Last year, he spent August through October with former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and the Denver Broncos.