Christian Hackenberg picked up where he left off in the NFL.
In his first start for the Memphis Express of the brand new Alliance Football League, the former second-round pick of the Jets threw an interception with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Things didn’t get much better from there. He finished the first half three-for-11 for a whopping 20 yards and the one pick. He did throw a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter on a trick play, launching a perfect dime into the hands of his diving receiver in the end zone. But there was a flag on the play and it was brought back.
Hackenberg’s new team ultimately was shut out, 26-0 by the Birmingham Iron. He was replaced at quarterback with a little less than four minutes to go in the game.
The former Jet never took the field in a regular season NFL game, despite being taken with the 51st overall pick in 2016 by general manager Mike Maccagnan. He was eventually released by Gang Green and hung around on practice squads with the Raiders and Eagles without ever proving his worth.
Hackenberg had said ahead of his first game in the Alliance League that he felt like a new quarterback. He told PennLive that there was a newfound zip on his throws and that he was ready to start fresh.
“I don’t think I’ve thrown the football this good ever,” Hackenberg told Penn Live. “Like, I wish I had this five years ago. But the good news is I’m 23, I’m sure I can do it and I did it. Now it’s just about going out and playing.”