Covid and bankruptcy gives NFL Free agent a tough task

2020 poses many tough tasks for parents, teens, and even professional athletes. Many people think that when you make it to the NFL, that’s your final stop for a football player, but for Tyree Jackson, his story is a little different. Jackson is a quarterback who played in the NFL and XFL and is now a free agent. Jackson experienced tough tasks during his rookie season that caused him to 

 Jackson attended college at Buffalo University and after the 2019 draft he was signed as an undrafted free agent to the Buffalo Bills. He got to play during the 2019 Preseason and eventually didn’t make the final 53 man roster, but that didn’t make him stop giving it his all. 

When Jackson got the news he did not make the final 53 man roster, he didn’t stop working. He filled out applications and went through combines and was eventually drafted in the 9th round of the XFL draft by the DC Defenders. The XFL is an American Football League for players out of college to make a name for themselves and still have an opportunity to play in the NFL. 

Unfortunately, the league suspended play on March 12 after playing only half of its 10-week season. The remainder of the season was finally cancelled on March 20.

 The XFL blamed Covid-19 as the reason all team operations were suspended, but at the same time the league filed for bankruptcy. The owner, Vince McMahon, said he would not buy the league out of bankruptcy and that the league would not reopen for 2020. Players around the league were devastated. The virus made it difficult to get things going smoothly again, especially with all the uncertainty it adds. 

“Getting the news was unfortunate for us, but at the same time I understood that there was a bigger issue at hand and that the health of everyone is far more important,” said Tyree. “ We found out in an offensive meeting and we were brought into a team meeting. At the moment we were thinking we would suspend operations for a short amount of time, and then resume play once the virus was gone,” he added.

 Like Tyree, many people thought the virus would be over by the end of summer. Unfortunately, he was wrong. 

Jackson has been moving between Buffalo and Michigan, training and being with his family during this unprecedented time. Professional athletes need to stay in shape for their seasons, but with the pandemic, most places were shut down. Not being able to workout and stay active can take a toll on athletes, it can lead to serious injury and fatigue. The NFL has been plagued with many season ending injuries this year due to lack of practice. Tyree was fortunate enough to find a way to workout and avoid injury. “Back at home, my Grandpa and Dad made a weight room in our garage and used that. It was awesome to still be able to get work in during a time when everything was closed.” said the Quarterback. Most athletes weren’t able to get the proper amount of work in and ended up paying the price. 

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson officially bought the XFL out of bankruptcy and plans on resuming the league in 2022, giving players an opportunity to make a name for themselves once again. Sadly, for those athletes, that’s a while away. For most of them, the XFL is their only opportunity to get their name out there to NFL clubs and to have the chance to be placed on a team. Tyree said, “Right now, I will continue to train and get better. I can’t control anything but what I do on a daily basis to get better. So for now, I plan to control what I can and be ready when the opportunity arises.” Jackson hopes to sign with an NFL team as soon as possible and begin his young career. Unfortunately, many teams haven’t been holding workout sessions for free agents due to the virus. Families around the world were faced with Covid-19 scares, however, Tyree and his family were fortunate enough to not have any complications with the virus. Given that him and his family continue to stay healthy, an opportunity to play for an NFL team seems more likely than not.