July 21, 2024

AJ McCarron to return in standby role for St. Louis Battlehawks

Quarterback AJ McCarron will be back in uniform but not necessarily back on the field for the St. Louis Battlehawks this week.

The former Alabama All-American missed the Battlehawks’ previous game because of an ankle injury. On Thursday, St. Louis coach Anthony Becht said McCarron would return for Saturday’s game against the Arlington Renegades as the backup for Manny Wilkins.

Wilkins went all the way under center as the Battlehawks beat the D.C. Defenders 26-21 on Sunday. Wilkins completed 9-of-18 passes for 126 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions and ran for 80 yards on 12 carries.

Becht praised Wilkins for using his mobility to help St. Louis clinch a spot in the United Football League playoffs with its victory.

“Manny did a great job, I thought, his first game,” Becht said. “Clearly, there’s some things you can clean up. But for a guy to step in, be ready for his moment, have the calmness to use his legs as a positive and all those things were a dimension that helped us and gave us a slight advantage is the fact that was something defenses had to worry about.”

McCarron sustained an ankle injury in the Battlehawks’ 30-26 loss to the Birmingham Stallions on May 11, although he did not miss a snap in that game.

“He ran some drills,” Becht said of McCarron this week. “He’s back in the mix. Working on some tape jobs. He’ll be the two this week, so progression is great. He’s tough.

“Listen, these are the moments where your mind kind of gets a little bit stronger in these situations. He’s a veteran guy that understands that, so he’s working diligently every day to find whatever he can to get it feeling its best. He’ll be the two this week for sure.”

In his second season as St. Louis’ quarterback, McCarron has completed 154-of-231 passes for 1,467 yards with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions in seven games. The former St. Paul’s Episcopal standout leads the UFL in touchdown passes despite missing the Week 8 game.

The Battlehawks play the Renegades at 11 a.m. CDT Saturday at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington, Texas. ABC will televise the game.

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, St. Louis is tied with the San Antonio Brahmas for the lead in the XFL Conference with 6-2 records. San Antonio plays the undefeated Birmingham Stallions on Saturday. The Renegades have a 1-7 record.

The Brahmas and the Battlehawks will square off for the second time in 2024 in the regular-season finale on June 1 in St. Louis, then play again in the UFL playoff semifinals on June 9. The Battlehawks defeated San Antonio 31-24 on April 14.


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