TAMPA, Fla. — When the XFL season got canceled for the remainder of the 2020 season in March, it was like taking on a blindside block for St. Louis Battlehawks running back, Matt Jones.
“I was so charged up at the time and it was like it just hit me hard,” Jones said.
That’s why when the XFL announced Friday morning they were suspending operations and had no plan to play the 2021 season, Jones was near speechless.
“I couldn’t believe it, I just didn’t want to believe it, I was just in shock,” he said.
At first, the news of the cancellation for the remainder of the 2020 season didn’t bother Jones too much because he was using that season as a springboard to get back to his old gig.
“I just started thinking, well the next step is to stay in shape, now get your mind ready for the NFL and a team to call,” Jones said.
He's now battling father time as he tries to show NFL scouts he still has some gas left in the tank. As Jones described, he’s 27 years young and is in the best shape he’s ever been in.
“I feel like I’m at the peak, I feel like I’m the smartest I’ve ever been,” Jones said. “I’m more into the pass pro, the running game more, getting downfield and even special teams.”
He said his little time with the Battlehawks made him feel like a new man.
“I feel like my mind and mentality has built so much power over this XFL season that I done seen a whole transition,” Jones said.
While Jones admits it’s an uphill battle, he said he’s putting his faith in God and giving it all, because he plans to play football until his body says no more. And hopefully, if the NFL doesn’t work out, he can return to a place that felt like home.
“That was like one of the best feelings I’ll never forget,” Jones said reflecting on the Battlehawks home opener. “I mean that’s the best team in the XFL and we had the best fans and the best facilities and the best everything so I don’t know why not.”