ARLINGTON — For some, hearing the name Jerrod Heard might evoke memories of the quarterback who won two state championships at Guyer.
For others, it might remind them of the playmaker who ended his career at Texas catching passes instead of throwing them.
On Sunday at Globe Life Park, he might have the opportunity to do both.
The XFL, rebooting nearly 20 years after its only season, will make its second debut this weekend.
And while the league has stressed that this version focuses more on football than gimmicks, it does bring with it a unique set of rules that differentiates it from the NFL, including the ability to throw two forward passes behind the line of scrimmage.
The Dallas Renegades already expect Heard to be a playmaker at receiver when they open Sunday at Globe Life Park. His ability to throw the ball, in an air-raid offense with two forward passes available, could make him even more of an asset.
“Just look at Taysom Hill,” Renegades quarterback Landry Jones said, comparing Heard to the New Orleans Saints player who impressed as a blocker, receiver, runner and quarterback this season.
“Having that kind of Swiss army knife, where you can line him up wherever and ask him to do a bunch of different things, just puts another element of pressure on the defense.”
Putting pressure on defenses is something Heard has done for a long time.
At Denton Guyer, Heard dazzled, finishing his career with more than 6,500 passing yards, nearly 5,000 rushing yards and a combined 134 touchdowns. At Texas, he played in all 12 games and started 10 during his redshirt freshman season. He even set a school record for total yards in a game with 527 in a 45-44 loss to California.
The next season, Heard was moved to receiver, a project he said felt “rushed,” looking back. In three season he finished with 57 receptions for 537 yards and a combined six touchdowns.
The project may have been rushed at Texas, but today Heard is more confident than ever in his ability as a receiver. Half of the Renegades’ roster has had NFL opportunities, but even though Heard wasn’t among them, he stayed patient and prepared.
The Renegades drafted him as a receiver, but Heard’s versatility is something they’ve tapped. Offensive coordinator Hal Mumme, Heard said, has asked Heard to do more things in the offense as the offseason has progressed. Heard has even taken snaps under center in practice.
“Jerrod does a lot of things well,” said head coach Bob Stoops, who coached against Heard while at Oklahoma. “He can be a backup quarterback, of course double passes, running the ball, but he’s also been a great receiver for us, too. So all of it together, he’s been an exciting player.”
All of those elements for Heard are on the table for the Renegades’ season opener against St. Louis at 4 p.m. Sunday. And if Heard catches a forward pass behind the line of scrimmage, and someone’s open, he’s confident that he could throw it just as well as he could run with it.
“A lot of skills you have don’t go away,” Heard said. “It might be rusty at first, but you could easily bicycle your way back to it and that’s what I did.”