Getty RB Donnel Pumphrey struggled with injuries throughout his NFL career in Philadelphia.
Welcome to the XFL, Donnel Pumphrey. The diminutive former Eagles running back took a vicious pop early in his debut for the DC Defenders.
The 25-year-old was drafted by the Eagles in 2017 and spent his first two years in Philadelphia as he bounced around from the practice squad to injured reserve before eventually being waived for good after training camp on Aug. 30, 2019.
Pumphrey was selected in the seventh round of the XFL draft and looked for a fresh start, perhaps a career rebirth in the newly-formed professional football league. Less than four minutes into his XFL debut, he took a massive bone-jarring hit that immediately went viral. He was clearly shaken up on the play.
In all, Pumphrey carried four times for five yards in a 31-19 win for the DC Defenders on Saturday. He also caught one ball for three yards.
Eagles Took Pumphrey in Fourth Round of NFL Draft
Originally a fourth-round draft pick of the Eagles, Donnel Pumphrey could never find the field or stay healthy enough to contribute. He entered the 2017 season as the fourth running back on the depth chart, listed behind LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles and Corey Clement but soon found himself on injured reserve after tearing his hamstring during practice.
He was supposed to be a Darren Sproles clone, or the role recently assumed by Boston Scott. Pumphrey grew up idolizing Sproles since he was born in Nevada and played college ball at San Diego State. Sproles and Pumphrey even worked out together in California.
“We are both very versatile and I can do stuff out of the backfield like he has,” Pumphrey told reporters in 2017, via Eagles Wire. “He’s going to be a Hall of Famer. He’s definitely bigger than me but I am just looking forward to it all.”
Former Eagles Playing Football in the XFL
Donnel Pumphrey wasn’t the only one who took his talents to the XFL. There are a slew of players with Eagles connections on rosters across the country.
In fact, former Eagles receiver Rashard Davis was the No. 1 pick in the XFL Draft but then the Tennessee Titans came calling and he went back to the NFL. Maybe Philadelphia should have kept him.
Other XFL players with Philly ties include WR DeAndre Thompkins, DT Elijah Qualls, C Jon Toth, S Trae Elston, RB De’Angelo Henderson, QB Aaron Murray, QB Matt McGloin, WR Carlton Agudosi, RB Matt Jones, CB Josh Hawkins, LB Asantay Brown, among others. Qualls made the highlight reel during the XFL’s opening weekend when he recovered a fumble for the DC Defenders.
Is Philadelphia Getting XFL Team in the Future?
Philadelphia was one of 21 cities to request a domain name for an XFL franchise when the league was first announced in 2018, per Sports Business’ Bob Williams. However, the city wasn’t granted a team for the 2020 inaugural season and there has been no update on whether Philly would be getting a franchise down the line.
The XFL kicked off their inaugural season over the weekend with a jam-packed lineup of games that saw 3.3 million viewers tune in. The league currently has eight total teams: DC Defenders, Dallas Renegades, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, New York Guardians, St. Louis BattleHawks, Seattle Dragons and Tampa Bay Vipers. They also have “Team 9” which is essentially a practice squad to stash players.
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