Every player in the XFL has a story. Many have played in multiple leagues before joining the XFL and for whatever reason have not made an impact until now. Some due to needing time to mature, others needed playing time and there were those who have dealt with injury after injury. One player who falls into that last category is Houston Roughnecks’ wide receiver, Nick Holley.
Holley is an Ohio native who at points in his college career at Kent State played quarterback, running back and wide receiver. His draft status took a nosedive after getting injured early in his senior season in a game against Marshall; it was the third consecutive season that Holley was unable to finish due to injury.
But Holley persevered. In 2018 he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Rams but did not make the 53-man roster. Then in 2019 he was signed by the AAF’s Salt Lake Stallions but did not get to make an impact because the league folded. He then joined the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL.
In Week 1, Holley was targeted five times and caught four of those passes for 50 yards, including a great catch over the middle of the field during the 3rd quarter to bring the Roughnecks into scoring position. His hard work had finally paid off and in a moment of true emotion, Holley was interviewed during the game by sideline reporter Brock Huard. Huard mentioned his multiple injuries and asked, “Why are you here?” to which Holley responded, “I love football, it’s for the love of the game…”
The Roughnecks were the only team in the West to win in Week 1. Coach June Jones had the plays dialed up for quarterback P.J. Walker and he delivered. They were also playing against the Los Angeles Wildcats, a team already being touted as the worst in the XFL. Holley and the Roughnecks will take on the St. Louis BattleHawks in Week 2 and you can be sure that the BattleHawks will be ready to try and stop the Roughnecks high-powered offense.
The biggest victory for the XFL is the players like Holley, who have been at the bottom of the football heap and now are playing well and are exciting for fans to follow and watch. Hopefully for the XFL stories like Holley’s will continue to come up but more importantly, the play of these young men will continue to be enjoyable for fans to watch.