Rock tweet says XFL plans to return in 2022

  • ESPN.com national NFL writer
  • ESPN.com NFC North reporter, 2008-2013
  • Covered Vikings for Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1999-2008

The XFL won’t play in 2021, co-owner Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tweeted Thursday morning, and is targeting a return in the spring of 2022.

Johnson, longtime business partner Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital Partners completed their purchase of the league from Vince McMahon in August. At the time, Garcia said the group was considering a 2021 season in a one-city bubble structure. It was not immediately clear why they decided against that option, but it would have taken a massive scale-up of the company in a short period of time.

Of the bubble possibility, Garcia said in July: “We’re doing all the steps that need to happen for the execution of that. But we’re also being mindful to what has actually been successful. It has been really interesting to see that [in sports], when you create a bubble, your players are safe. When you don’t, it’s chaos. We are a league, because of the number of teams we have, that actually can create a bubble environment. Those discussions are active.”

McMahon laid off almost the entire XFL workforce in April prior to declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Most of the former employees, including coaches, remain unpaid creditors in the proceedings. The XFL played half of its original 10-game inaugural season in 2020 before suspending its season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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