XFL suspends operations: Jim Zorn says he’ll ‘plan as though we are going to continue’ in 2021

The XFL completely shut its doors on Friday in response to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, reportedly announcing in a surprise conference call that it would be suspending day-to-day operations and laying off all employees effective immediately. And while the league reportedly has no current plans to return for a 2021 season, that hasn’t stopped some from staying optimistic.

Jim Zorn, one of the revived XFL’s eight inaugural head coaches, told the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta shortly after the conference call that he’s hopeful the league will still be back. Not only that, but he’s practically proceeding as if a 2021 season is still on the schedule.

“I hope it continues on and I think everybody does,” Zorn said, per Condotta. “Right now there is no real way to have an emotion about it. For me it’s just a matter of continuing to go plan as though we are going to continue … I’m just going to plan on continuing to hope that there is another season ahead of us whenever that might be. And I think I need to plan for that, although shutting down just means that there are a lot of people who can’t wait.”

Zorn added that he’s not received definitive word from the XFL about the league’s future. XFL COO Jeffery Pollock, who announced the suspension of operations Friday, did not take any questions during the conference call, which Zorn claimed “was out of the blue.”

The league, which experienced a near-weekly decline in TV ratings after a hot debut but still garnered internal and external praise, as well as earned a number of players offseason jobs with NFL teams, initially said it planned to return in 2021. Social and travel restrictions, not to mention reported infections of some players, led to the XFL suspending and then cancelling its 2020 season in March.

Despite the optimism from Zorn, a former Seattle Seahawks quarterback and NFL head coach who oversaw the Seattle Dragons during the XFL’s return, all indications are the league does not intend to resume operations anytime soon.

Asked Friday about the XFL shutdown, one team staffer told CBS Sports: “It didn’t seem like they’d be calling us back.”

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