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We all know that football careers are short, and American football players have a lot of free time left after they retire from the playing field. Many NFL players choose to take up another profession: coach, sports analytics, TV commentator, or even become actors.
Some of those who are part of the world of cinema now were very famous NFL stars. However, there are also some college football stars that have enjoyed highly successful film careers, although they did not make it so good in the NFL.
We will mention 5 of the most known NFL football players that made the transition from football players to actors on the silver screen.
Fred Williamson was an NFL defensive back nicknamed “The Hammer”. He played for the Steelers, Raiders, and Chiefs from 1960 to 1967. Retired from his football career, Williamson became a staple of blaxploitation films. He emerged as one of the most intimidating and realistic black action stars of the 1970s, starring in the films Hammer, Black Caesar, and Hell in Harlem.
Carl Weathers had a stellar career in college football as a defensive wing for the San Diego State Aztecs from 1968 to 1969. He later spent one year with the Oakland Raiders before he retired in 1974 and started his acting career. Weathers is best known for playing boxer “Apollo Creed” in the Rocky films or “Dillon” in Predator. He also played a retired golfer in Happy Gilmore and had several supporting roles in a lot of other films.
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Bubba Smith was a tough defensive wing for the Baltimore Colts. The franchise selected him with the #1 overall pick in the 1967 NFL Draft. After his playing days were over, he enjoyed a remarkable career as an actor. Perhaps his most famous role was that of “Hightower” in the Police Academy film series. He also showed admirable acting range in Blue Thunder, Black Moon Rising, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, and Married with Children. With an imposing physique, Smith could play both comedy and drama.
The former defensive wing/linebacker was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1991 and played 32 games for five different teams in his career. Terry Crews is one of the busiest former NFL players who became a professional entertainer. He is a multi-faceted comedian, television host, animated voice actor, and a genuine action star. Crews earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in July 2021 and earned 22 acting nominations in his career. He acted in White Chicks, Idiocracy, Blended, and The Expendables series. Crews began hosting America’s Got Talent in 2019.
Dwayne Johnson won a national football title with the Miami Hurricanes in 1991, he became known as “The Rock”. Later he went to play in the Canadian league, but he suffered an injury that kept him off the field. Later, he followed his family’s footsteps as a professional wrestler, becoming one of the biggest stars in the WWE of all time. This gave him the opportunity to try his hand at acting, and he took it, becoming the biggest action movie idol in the world today. In his long career, he appeared in films like The Mummy Returns, Fast & Furious, and Jumanji franchises, Skyscraper, San Andreas, among many others.
The list of actors who were once NFL stars is long, and it is certain that among the current players are future Hollywood stars.
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