Seattle Sea Dragons running back Phillip Lindsay has been grinding away in the XFL this year as his team fell just one game shy of the league’s championship game last Sunday. According to Chris Tomasson of The Denver Gazette, Lindsay viewed his time with the Sea Dragons as an audition to return to the NFL, where he would like to play at least two more seasons.
Lindsay got to stay local after a college career at Colorado, signing as an undrafted free agent to the Broncos in 2018. He made an immediate impact rushing for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. Injuries and the reemergence of Melvin Gordon resulted in a down 2020 season for Lindsay. The Broncos rescinded their initial restricted free agent tender on Lindsay after the season ended, and he bounced from the Texans to the Dolphins to the Colts without ever finding the success he had found in Denver.
Despite being essentially let go by the Broncos, Lindsay has Denver at the top of his list for his hopeful return to the big leagues. He sees an opportunity, as well, with starter Javonte Williams dealing with a rocky return from his ACL tear. His agent reportedly reached out to Denver and was told that the team wanted to see how the draft panned out before addressing Lindsay. The Broncos didn’t draft any running backs and haven’t announced official undrafted free agent signings yet.
The team signed former Bengals running back Samaje Perine and former Saint Tony Jones this offseason, and they return Damarea Crockett, Tyler Badie, and Tyreik McAllister from last year. Crockett, Badie, and McAllister don’t account for much with a combined four career carries for seven yards. Perine and Jones provide solid backup options behind Williams with Perine likely to start if Williams is unable to early in the season.
So, the possibility remains for a Lindsay return, if the team is looking for a bit more experienced depth during a potentially lengthy Williams recovery. He put together some film for Denver to consider as he helped the Sea Dragons qualify for the XFL playoffs, and he’ll await his opportunities in the meantime.
Here are a few more potential NFL returns out of the XFL to Denver:
- One player the Broncos have reported interest in is Houston Roughnecks outside linebacker Trent Harris, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Harris led the XFL in sacks this season with 9.5 over eight starts. Harris went undrafted in 2018 after collecting 8.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss in his final year with the Hurricanes down in South Beach. In 2019, he landed with the Dolphins and totaled 1.5 sacks, 22 tackles (one for loss), two quarterback hits, and a forced fumble in 11 appearances (three starts). He started two games for the Bills the next year and sort of bounced out of the league after short stints with the Ravens and Raiders in 2022. His resurgent year in the XFL has shown that Harris still has plenty of gas left in the tank and plenty of NFL potential. Harris should have a decent opportunity in Denver, as well, where Dre’Mont Jones led the team with 6.5 sacks in 2022 as Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory dealt with injuries. Harris could provide some solid depth in case the position continues to deal with absences or lack of production. While the Broncos invited him to their rookie minicamp, several other teams have reportedly shown interest, as well.
- Lastly, the Broncos also invited Sea Dragons quarterback Ben DiNucci to their rookie minicamp, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2. DiNucci, the former Cowboys passer, was another strong factor that led Seattle to the playoffs. With a completion percentage of nearly 65, DiNucci led the XFL in passing yards with 2,671 while tossing 20 touchdowns to 13 interceptions in 10 starts. A transfer from Pitt after losing his starting job to then-true freshman Kenny Pickett, DiNucci was drafted out of James Madison in the seventh round by Dallas in 2020. He played and started in relief of Andy Dalton to discouraging results and was eventually waived by the team. The Broncos appear to be very secure in the quarterbacks room with Jarrett Stidham and Jarrett Guarantano backing up Russell Wilson, but DiNucci will attempt to show that he still has an NFL-caliber arm this spring in Denver.