By David Fleet
San Antonio — On Feb. 19, former Brandon Blackhawk standout, Jake Sutherland returned to
professional football and the XFL with the St. Louis Battlehawks who defeated the San Antonio Brahmas in the season opener 18-15.
“It’s still surreal being back,” said Sutherland, 27, during an interview on Wednesday. “I have not played for three years, we were not sure when the league was going to come back.”
Sutherland was first selected by the New York Guardians in the 2019 XFL Draft and was active with the team for five games until Covid shut the league down in 2020. During that time Sutherland, a 6-5, 261 pound tight end continued to work out during those three years.
“I worked on football specific drills,” he said. “I moved to Virginia and got in contact with quarterback and receivers. I was able to keep up with my route running and catching. I did not slow down and continued to work out waiting for the opportunity.”
“All the emotions and all the excitement hit me running out of the tunnel onto the field for the first time in three years,” said Sutherland following Sunday’s game. “It’s an incredible feeling, seeing all the lights, cameras and the people. It was so much fun, I love playing this game, getting that rush of adrenaline for me, it’s what I live for.”
Sutherland’s road to professional football started at Brandon High School where he played on both sides of the ball with 32 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns as a junior and 31 tackles and one fumble recovery that same year. Sutherland played in only one contest as a senior due to an elbow injury.
“I was 100 percent ready for a new season,” he said.
Jakes’s return to professional football came about month after his marriage Jan. 3 in Virginia to his new wife Paige.
“Our wedding was just three days before I had to report to training camp,” he said. “She will travel to as many games as possible. Hopefully we’ll get a honeymoon after the season is over. That’s the plan anyway.”
“The talent of the XFL is very high,” he said. “I want to continue to keep playing, I’ll be happy if it’s with the XFL or an opportunity with the NFL. Playing professional football has always been the dream. “
Following graduation from Brandon High School in 2014, he attended Moorehead State University, and played in 42 career games over four seasons, which included 19 starts, according to MSU. Sutherland tallied 52 catches for 507 yards during his career at MSU. He was also named to the Pioneer Football League Academic Honor Roll.
In 2018 Sutherland earned a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Business from Moorehead State.
The eight teams of the XFL are the Arlington Renegades, the DC Defenders, the Houston Roughnecks, the Orlando Guardians, the San Antonio Brahmas, the Seattle Sea Dragons, the St. Louis Battlehawks, and the Vegas Vipers.
Jake is the son of Barb and Bob Sutherland of Ortonville.