Key Points

  • D.C. Defenders’ Abram Smith, last season’s leading rusher in the XFL, faces a season sideline due to a likely torn ACL.
  • Smith’s injury during practice puts the spotlight on backups Cam’Ron Harris, Darius Hagans, and Pooka Williams.
  • Despite the setback, the Defenders remain strong contenders with a robust team lineup and championship history.

The D.C. Defenders are grappling with the substantial loss of their star running back, Abram Smith, for the 2024 United Football League season. Per Mike Mitchell from Sports Illustrated, Smith, who led the XFL in rushing yards last season, sustained a likely torn ACL during a Wednesday practice, casting a shadow over the team’s championship aspirations. His performance in the previous season, tallying 788 yards with a 5 yards per carry, was instrumental in the Defenders’ journey to the XFL Championship game.

The injury has thrust the Defenders into a challenging position, as they look to their backups—Cam’Ron Harris, Darius Hagans, and Pooka Williams—to fill the void left by Smith. Despite the loss, the team’s strength and depth leave them well-placed to navigate the upcoming season’s hurdles.

The synergy between Smith and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu had been a cornerstone of the Defenders’ offensive strategy, and adjusting to his absence will be a critical task for the coaching staff. Smith was named to Mitchell’s All XFL Team in 2023 and one of the top stars in the XFL.

Smith’s journey to the Defenders was marked by achievements and transitions, including a stint with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and a previous stint with the New Orleans Saints. His versatility and adaptability were evident from his college days at Baylor, where he switched from linebacker to running back, achieving a breakout season with 1,601 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, earning him second-team all-Big 12 honors.

As the D.C. Defenders gear up for their season opener against the San Antonio Brahmas on March 31, the team’s resilience and depth will be put to the test. The absence of a player of Smith’s caliber is undoubtedly a significant loss, but the Defenders’ proven track record and the talent within their ranks offer optimism for the season ahead. With the team still in a position to pursue excellence, the coming season will be a testament to their ability to overcome adversity and continue their pursuit of championship glory.

author avatar
Mark Perry Editor
Mark Perry, a devoted sports journalist and founder of UFL News Hub, has been a key figure in XFL, USFL and UFL coverage since 2018.

1 Comment

  • Posted March 15, 2024 9:52 am 0Likes
    by Ken Granito

    I can’t say that I have seen any the remaining backs run the ball, so I don’t really know what they have, but we have a Fantasy draft coming up and he was expected to be one of the top backs drafted. Looking at guys that can be a lead back, at least on my radar…..Yes I am still on the Benny Snell bandwagon. i haven’t seen him for a few years, but that man runs hard. Other backs may include Reggie Corbin provided he doesn’t make any phone calls to the booth demanding the ball, Brian Hill, Garrett Groshek and my favorite Derrick Gore who just became a free agent. Take some time to set your own legacy and be the heart and soul of a group of guys. Show the NFL you can carry the load. The only problem with this theory is the Defenders would then make it a little more difficult to play in the finals, at home. The last back I would like to spotlight is Kingston Davis. He runs hard and catches the ball well. Mike Riley really seemed to like him and when Trey Williams was unavailable spelled Darius Victor extremely well. If no Hill, Snell or Gore, I might go there next.

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