Gannon alumnus Tyler Palka
Gannon alumnus Tyler Palka (Temperance, Mich./Saline) will be continuing his dream of playing professional football in the coming weeks, as the wide receiver made it through training camp for the DC Defenders of the XFL and onto the active roster.
The XFL's 2020 season begins February 8.
Palka, who played all over the offense for the Golden Knights during his two seasons with the program in 2016 and 2017, was invited to the Pittsburgh Steelers' rookie camp after his senior season, and spent time on rosters with the Ottawa RedBlacks of the Canadian Football League and the Columbus Destroyers of the Arena Football League over the past year.
He is one of just 32 players from outside of Division I football to make the final 52-man rosters for the eight XFL teams.
While at Gannon, Palka served as a reserve quarterback as a junior, throwing for 248 yards and rushing for 167. He blossomed as a threat as a senior in 2017, collecting 1,121 all-purpose yards (459 rushing and 662 receiving), and scoring 11 total touchdowns on his way to All-PSAC honors.
"I credit my time at Gannon, and particularly my senior year, for allowing me to develop my skills and understand what it would take to play wide receiver in the pros," Palka said. "Being able to still play quarterback at times and get a lot of carries allowed me to get more on film and gain the background of being a guy that could play a lot of positions.
"I'm very proud of my time at Gannon and very proud to be a Golden Knight."
Palka will move back to a 100-yard field with the Defenders, as the first season of the second iteration of the XFL gets underway this spring. He was picked up during the XFL's supplemental draft on Nov. 22, worked his way through a mini camp during December, and just wrapped up over two weeks of training camp last month.
The DC Defenders, who will play their home games at the home of the MLS's D.C. United, open their season Feb. 8 with a home game against the Seattle Dragons.