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Tracing the Nevada Wolf Pack's links to the XFL

James Butler
Former Nevada running back James Butler will play in the XFL. (Eugene Tanner/AP file)

The XFL debuts Saturday this weekend with a pair of games on Saturday and two more on Sunday. The eight-team league is rebooting after running for a single season in 2001, this venture being more about real football than gimmicks like the first attempt. There are a few Nevada Wolf Pack links to the XFL. Here they are.

Houston Roughnecks

James Butler: The former Nevada running back, who has spent time on the Raiders' practice squad each of the last two seasons, is on the Roughnecks. Houston's depth chart lists Andre Williams as the team's No. 1 back and De'Angelo Henderson at No. 2, so Butler will have to work for his carries. Butler is listed as the No. 1 kickoff returner. Butler also has spent time with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders before being cut prior to the season opener.

Kaelin Burnett: At age 30, Burnett is one of the most veteran players in the league. The former Nevada defensive end/outside linebacker has played in almost every football league that has existed with stints in the NFL, CFL, the Alliance, the Arena Football League, the National Arena League and now the CFL. Burnett played in 27 NFL games from 2012-14 and had 15 tackles and a forced fumble.

Dallas Renegades

Hal Mumme: The father of Nevada offensive coordinator Matt Mumme will serve as the Renegades' offensive coordinator under former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, who is a good friend of Wolf Pack head coach Jay Norvell. Hal Mumme is the co-creator of the Air Raid offense.

Seattle Dragons

Clayton Lopez: Lopez is the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Dragons. He was a letterwinner for the Wolf Pack from 1992-94 and served as a graduate assistant from 1995-96 before serving as Nevada's running backs coach and recruiting coordinator from 1997-98. He held jobs with the NFL's Seahawks (1999-2003), Raiders (2004-05, 2012-13), Lions (2006-08) and Rams (2009-11).

Tampa Bay Vipers

Jonathan Himebauch: Himebauch played in the XFL in 2001 and was a member of the championship-winning Los Angeles Xtreme. He began his coaching career after the league folded and spent the 2016season as the Wolf Pack's offensive line coach, the same position he will hold with Tampa Bay. We caught up with Himebauch earlier this week.

In the XFL, the average player will earn about $55,000 during the 10-game season. Quarterbacks will receive considerably higher salaries, potentially up to middle six-figures.

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