Jim Zorn explains how he was convinced to join XFL Seattle as head coach/GM

Feb 25, 2019, 11:40 PM | Updated: 11:43 pm
Jim Zorn was introduced as the XFL Seattle head coach and GM in Feb. 2019. (AP)...
Jim Zorn was introduced as the XFL Seattle head coach and GM in Feb. 2019. (AP)

Jim Zorn never considered himself retired from coaching, but that doesn’t mean the 65-year-old Seahawks legend would have joined the XFL Seattle team as head coach and general manager without a convincing selling point. Especially considering the reputation the original XFL earned in its lone season in 2001.

Zorn brings experience, excitement to new role as XFL Seattle coach

“It took a while,” Zorn told Danny, Dave and Moore about his decision to join the XFL, “because when I first got a phone call asking me if I was interested, I remembered the XFL many years ago starting up and the same guy’s name was coming back – it was Vince McMahon. I thought, oh no, it’s going to be wild. … I wasn’t going to be that interested.”

But Zorn talked to XFL commissioner Oliver Luck, a fellow former NFL quarterback, and it became clear the new XFL has a very different idea of football in mind than what McMahon, founder of XFL parent company Alpha Entertainment, oversaw 18 years ago.

“Talking to Oliver and just trying to understand what Vince McMahon’s vision was for this this new endeavor, it was to really play football,” Zorn said. “And as I got more and more involved thinking about it and talking with Oliver and several other people, it seemed more and more to be right up my alley. Because it’s going to be a league of giving opportunity to players who are good athletes but may not have made (an NFL) team based on how much time they had to develop or maybe they just weren’t as committed as now they want to be. … Those ideas got me interested in becoming a part of it.”

Zorn has already had a long career in football. He was the quarterback of the inaugural Seahawks team in 1976, played in the NFL until 1985, and made several stops as a college and pro coach from 1988 until 2012, including a tenure as Seahawks quarterbacks coach from 2001-07 and two NFL seasons as Washington’s head coach in 2008 and 2009. And while it will have been eight years since he last coached when the XFL kicks off in 2020, Zorn still has plenty of enthusiasm for the game.

“I don’t feel like I have to do this … for something that I feel like I missed out on in my career or like I just can’t get it out of my system,” he said. “I really do have energy for this, and I have never truly retired. I don’t really think I’ve said that. In fact I’ve told it to my wife Joy several times and she just rolls her eyes, ‘Oh yeah, OK.’ But I do know that I’m 65 and I do know that I can’t throw the ball as far as I used to throw it, but I still have the enthusiasm to impart a coaching style and maybe help inject some desire in some of these players that need help and need mentoring and need the opportunity.”

For the full interview with Zorn, listen in the player embedded in this post or download a podcast of it at this link.

SCHOOLED: John Clayton talks to XFL commissioner Oliver Luck

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