Quarterback Joe Callahan’s serpentine football journey took another interesting turn Wednesday.
The 2011 Holy Spirit High School graduate is going to be playing in the revamped XFL after getting drafted by the Seattle Dragons.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Callahan said in a phone interview. “It’s a great chance to continue my football career.”
Callahan, 26, initially caught the attention of the league’s coaches and scouts while participating in an XFL showcase at Montclair State University in June, then filled out all the paperwork necessary to be included in the pool of draft-eligible players.
Seattle took him in the open phase of the XFL draft Wedneday after getting bypassed in the skill position phase Tuesday.
The Dragons did not draft a quarterback Tuesday. If he signs, he will be battling former Alliance of American Football standout Brandon Silvers, who was assigned to the Dragons prior to the draft.
“I thought I did pretty well in the XFL Showcase, but you don’t really get much of a chance to show what you can do,” Callahan said. “I was hoping to get drafted in the skill position phase, but it all worked out.”
Callahan joins the XFL after a series of stints in the NFL.
Callahan was most recently with the Baltimore Ravens in training camp before being released at the end of the preseason. While with Baltimore, he was reunited with fellow Holy Spirit graduate Greg Roman. Roman, the Ravens’ offensive coordinator, served in that same role at Holy Spirit during Callahan’s sophomore season.
Callahan previously spent parts of two seasons (2016-17) with Green Bay, New Orleans and Cleveland. He was with the Eagles for the 2018 preseason and signed a futures contract with Tampa Bay in early 2019 before being waived.
Callahan, a former standout at Wesley College (Delaware) saw action in one NFL regular-season game, completing 5 of 7 passes for 11 yards in the Packers’ 2017 finale.
Since getting released by the Ravens, he’s been working out in Brigantine while waiting for an opportunity.
The Dragons, who will be coached by former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Jim Zorn, gave him another chance Wednesday.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Callahan said. “It’s nice to finally have some stability.”
Notes: Callahan is one of two local players slated to join the XFL. Linebacker Anthony Stubbs, a Millville High School grad, was drafted by the Tampa Vipers on Tuesday. ... Two other linebackers, Anthony Sarao (Holy Spirit) and Ed Shockley (Millville), were hoping to get picked Wednesday. ... The XFL last existed in 2001, but it folded after just one season. Running back Keith Elias, a Lacey Township grad, was with the New York/New Jersey Hitmen that season.
There are eight teams in the revamped XFL: The Dragons, Vipers, Dallas Renegades, DC Defenders, Houston Roughnecks, Los Angeles Wildcats, New York Guardians and St. Louis Battlehawks.
The league will open its season in early February, a week after Super Bowl LIV.
Staff writer John Russo contributed to this story.