XFL cancels season amid coronavirus pandemic, reportedly frees players to seek NFL contracts

The XFL has officially canceled its season.

The nascent football league announced on Friday that after an earlier decision to suspend 2020 games, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted it to shutter completely for the remainder of the year.

The message to fans came with a vow to return in 2021.

“We’re grateful for the incredible response and look forward to playing full seasons for you — and with you — in 2021 and beyond,” the announcement reads.

Roughnecks finish atop the standings

The league completed five weeks of its comeback season with the Houston Roughnecks sitting atop the league standings at 5-0. Teams were scheduled to play five more weeks with the playoffs scheduled to start on April 18 with a championship game slated for April 26.

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The decision also frees players to sign with other leagues. The XFL reportedly informed players they can sign with the NFL or CFL starting March 23.

The XFL season is officially over. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

XFL standouts with NFL potential

St. Louis Battlehawks safety and former West Virginia standout Kenny Robinson made a big impact through five weeks. He joined the XFL after two college seasons when he lost his eligibility for academic reasons. He is eligible for the upcoming NFL draft.

Roughnecks quarterback Phillip Walker stood out in leading Houston to its 5-0 start, completing 65 percent of his passes for 1,338 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions.

His throws caught the attention of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson among others.

An NFL team in search of a backup quarterback may be tempted to give Walker a look.

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