In His Happy Place

by Stephen Hunt

Photos courtesy of the XFL

Like many kids who grow up playing football, Ranthony Texada dreamed of one day playing professionally. 
Texada is currently with the San Antonio Brahmas of the XFL, a professional league co-owned by former professional wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Texada also played in the previous incarnation of the XFL (which folded in 2020 due to the pandemic), the Canadian Football League (CFL), and spent time in the National Football League (NFL). 
However, it was while starring at Frisco’s Centennial High School when realizing his dreams came into full view. 
“Once I started getting (offered) football scholarships” is when it occurred to him that he could one day play professionally, says Texada, who played on Centennial’s baseball, basketball and football teams. “That was when it really became an eye-opener, like football is something that can open doors.” 
Texada says, “I love Frisco. I was there from when I was young until high school. My parents are still there. I’m proud to be from Centennial. Frisco shaped me into who I was growing up and who I am now.”

 A ‘Consistent’ Performer

Texada committed to Texas Christian University and started 42 games for the Horned Frogs between 2014-17, finishing with 117 tackles, 39 pass breakups, three interceptions and five sacks. 
Paul Gonzales was one of his position coaches at TCU. Currently the Horned Frogs’ safeties coach, he remains proud of Texada’s professional career to date.  
“It’s been fun to watch him continue to pursue his dream,” Gonzales said. “Since the day he got to TCU, (he) was one of the more consistent performers. A very mature young man, a guy that you, as a coach, really trust to be on the field. I can see why the Brahmas like him so much and why he can add value beyond the XFL as well.”
Gonzales also gives credit to Texada’s family — including younger brothers Raleigh, who played collegiately at Baylor and is now with the XFL’s Houston team; and Ridge, a sophomore defensive back at the University of North Texas — for helping lay a solid foundation for Ranthony Texada to be successful. 
“He comes from a great family. … His dad and his mother are great people,” Gonzales said. “They’ve had three boys go play Division I football.” 
Gonzales says, “I tried to help (Ranthony) understand the importance of football isn’t just your identity. You can be a good husband, father, own a business and do things away from the field as well. Ranthony was just one of those kids that was always very mature, handled things well and you never worry about him off the field. It’s no surprise to me” that he has seen success as a pro player.
 In 2020, Texada played five games for New York of the XFL and logged 16 tackles and a sack before the season ended abruptly due to the pandemic. 
He is now playing for San Antonio, but with a unique twist: This time around, all eight XFL teams practice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area during the week before heading to their respective home markets for games — a way to reduce travel expenses and overhead.

Staying Close to Home 

Texada lives in Fort Worth, a short drive from where the Brahmas practice in Justin. Practicing close to home allows him plenty of quality time with his wife, Charli, who works as a nurse in Mansfield, and the couple’s year-old daughter, Rayla. 
When the Brahmas played the Arlington Renegades March 26 at Choctaw Stadium (former home of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers), Texada had plenty of family members in the stands. 
“It’s been great because I can be a lot closer to my family instead of being in a whole other country,” he said. “It’s great having them at my games and supporting me,” as opposed to watching him on television, as was the case during his time in Canada with three CFL franchises (Ottawa, Winnipeg and Montreal). 
Texada wouldn’t trade his years playing north of the border because of the experience it gave him and the friendships he made there.
“Canada, it was different. At the time of my life when I went up there, I was still trying to keep my career alive,” Texada said. “I made a name for myself up there this past year as well, starting 11 games. It was a great experience. I met a lot of great people up there and definitely won’t take anything back that has happened in my career. Everything happens for a reason and helps make me who I am.”
 His time in 2018 with the NFL’s Washington Commanders (then the Redskins) didn’t last as long as he would have liked, but he considers it another great learning experience.
“It was a dream come true, just getting a shot in the NFL. I’d like to get back to that spot again in my career,” Texada said. “I met a lot of great guys there and gained a lot of experience about what it’s like to be a pro. I’m still grinding. I’m still working. I’m praying to God every day and taking it one day at a time.”
Another unexpected bonus from his second stint in the XFL is that he also got the chance to play against his younger brother, Raleigh, a defensive back with Houston, twice this season. 
The Brahmas played in Houston March 5 and hosted the Roughnecks at the Alamodome April 9. 
“That was cool,” Texada says. “I got to play him in college, too, when he was at Baylor.”
With San Antonio, Texada is playing for Hines Ward, the Brahmas’ head coach who was a two-time Super Bowl champion with Pittsburgh and a former Super Bowl MVP. 
Texada has made quite an impression on his current coach. “Rant’s one of those kids that I wish I had 22 of. Just his approach to the game is very professional,” Ward says. “He’s a great student of the game. He thirsts of knowledge for football, has a high football IQ. He wants to get better each and every day he steps on the football field.”
Receiving such heady praise from someone who has reached the top of the mountain in pro football twice is further proof that Texada is truly in his happy place competing in the XFL with the San Antonio Brahmas this year. 
“It’s been a great experience being around a lot of guys that have the same will and fight to continue their careers (that I have),” he says. “Just being around great coaches that have been in the NFL and have a lot of experience, it’s been great so far.”

Stephen Hunt is a freelance writer based in Frisco.

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