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Battle ‘blessed’ by XFL opportunity

HOUSTON – Isaiah Battle had to take care of his family.

With two kids, Brooklyn (4 years) and Harlem (8 months), Battle was forced to shift his attention away from football and figure out what he needed to do in order to get his financial future sorted out.

It’s just another great opportunity. I’ve been five years in the league and this is just another great opportunity. I’m just going to take it for what it is.

“It’s been a little tough,” he said. “I had to get a 9-5 job, something I didn’t want.”

So, instead of playing football, Battle was moving furniture.

“I was lifting couches, cleaning people out of their homes,” he said. “I did trucking jobs. Amazon. It was a grind. I’ve got two kids. There are no days off for me.”

And then, the 26-year-old heard about a new league that was starting, a fresh chance to give football one more shot.

“As soon as I heard about the XFL, I started back training,” he said. “I’m blessed to have another opportunity.”

The 6-foot-6, 312-pound offensive tackle is now back on the football field doing what he loves.

“Life is great,” he said. “Every time you’re blessed, every time the lord blesses you, you’ve just got to take it, run with it, don’t take it for granted and you’ll be OK.”

The XFL is the latest stop for Battle during a journey that hasn’t always been easy. First, the Brooklyn, N.Y. native had to adjust to college life at Clemson.

“It was hard at first, hard adapting to the culture, but Dabo Swinney and the guys, my O-line, my whole group took me in,” Battle said. “I was a New York guy and they took me in, helped me on my way and it was just a just a great opportunity, a great blessing.

“Clemson is a hell of a place. Everybody’s got your back.”

Then, in 2015, Battle made the jump to the NFL through the supplemental draft. It required another adjustment.

“It was a hard journey, but I had to put that in my rearview mirror and keep it going,” he said. “I was blessed to get drafted by the St. Louis Rams, at the time. I took my opportunity, didn’t look back and I’m blessed to be here.”

For Battle, Seattle is a familiar place to be after spending time with the Seahawks. And, so far, he is enjoying the XFL experience.

“This was a little different, because everybody is hungry here,” he said. “Not everybody has been in the league for five years with that little chip on your shoulder. Everybody is hungry.”

So, how has that mentality helped the Dragons’ offensive line take shape? Well, Battle said he is impressed with the progress.

“It’s going to be one hell of a group,” Battle said. “We get better every day. We watch film together. A lot of people don’t take the time to watch film together, but we get together. We critique ourselves, our technique and, just like today, we got better. We’re taking five steps up.”