The Panthers on Wednesday signed quarterback PJ Walker, the XFL standout who led the Houston Roughnecks to a 5-0 record before the league canceled its season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before Walker starts throwing passes for the Panthers, get to know Carolina's newest quarterback.
A Temple reunion
Walker will be reuniting with Matt Rhule, Walker's coach at Temple and the Panthers' current leader.
Rhule served as head coach during Walker's entire career at Temple, a stretch that saw the Owls undergo a complete a program turnaround. To this day, Walker still holds school records in essentially every passing category, including career yards (10,668), touchdowns (74) and completions (830).
After spending two years on and off the Colts' practice squad, Walker finally got a shot to start in the newly-formed XFL this spring. As a top-tier quarterback, Walker was allocated to the league's Houston franchise, where he quickly found success. On top of leading the team to an undefeated start, Walker led the XFL with 1,338 passing yards and 15 touchdown passes through five games, making himself an early favorite to win the league's MVP award.
Walker's debut performance in Week 1, a 37-17 victory that saw him toss four touchdown passes, helped earn him the XFL's first-ever Star of the Week award.
A bit of Luck
Unlike other players in the XFL who were drafted, the league began its season by assigning each franchise a quarterback. For Walker, that meant moving to Houston. But the reason for that assignment can be attributed to Luck.
Not luck as in good fortune, but Luck as in former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and his father, Oliver, the XFL's Commissioner. After the two seasons Walker spent around the Colts, he had developed a good relationship with Andrew, and by association his father. So when it came time to pick a quarterback for Houston, the city where Andrew grew up, Oliver requested Walker.
Sometimes all it takes is a little Luck.
See photos of quarterback P.J. Walker during his brief stint in the XFL. Prior to that, he was on the practice squad with Indianapolis and played college football at Temple.