5 NFL players turned actors

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MOVIE LAND — Making it to the NFL is an incredible accomplishment. Less than 2 percent of college football players make an NFL roster, and most of those who do, have careers lasting less than three years.

After the NFL, most players move on to normal life and getting jobs in industries like coaching, training and broadcasting. A few former players were able to take their talents to another industry that is also hard to make it in— Hollywood.

Here are some of the lucky former NFL players to make a career as actors after their NFL careers:

Carl Weathers

Before he was Tobias Funke’s acting/life coach on “Arrested Development” or before he was trading punches with Rocky as Apollo Creed, Carl Weathers was a linebacker in the NFL.

After a successful college football career at San Diego State, Weathers played football for the Oakland Raiders from 1970-1971. He then went on to play in the Canadian Football League for a few years before deciding to hang up the cleats and focus on acting.

Terry Crews

I bet it comes as no surprise to anyone who looks at Crews to think he was once a former NFL player. Crews was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1991 as a defensive end. After stints with a few different teams over the next few years, he retired in 1997.

Since retirement, Crews has enjoyed success on shows like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” He has also appeared in several movies like “Benchwarmers” and “Blended.”

Jim Brown

Jim Brown is considered one of the greatest players to play professional football. Drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round in 1957 as a running back, Brown went on to break several rushing records before retiring after nine seasons.

Brown caught the acting bug toward the end of his NFL career when he was cast in “Rio Conchos” before the 1964 season began. Since then he has appeared in films like “The Dirty Dozen” and “100 Rifles.” He most recently played himself in “Draft Day.”

Bubba Smith

Smith is best known as Sgt. Moses Hightower in the “Police Academy” movies, where he played a gentle giant that you did not want to make mad. Bubba was around 6-feet-7-inches tall and weighed about 265 pounds— perfect for the intimidating roles he would play in his acting career.

Smith was the first overall pick of the 1967 draft to the Baltimore Colts where he won Super Bowl V. He retired in 1976 as a two-time Pro Bowl selection. He turned his focus to acting where he had roles in several movies and television shows. Smith also had his own short-lived television show where he starred alongside another NFL legend, Dick Butkus, called “Blue Thunder.”

Smith passed away in 2011 at the age of 66.

John Matuszak

Matuszak is not a well-known household name and some might be wondering who he is. Well, he played one of the most beloved characters of all time, Sloth from the film, “Goonies.” Being about 6-foot-8-inches tall and over 280 pounds, not only was he the perfect choice to play Chunk’s new best friend, but it also came in handy for football as well.

Matuszak was the first overall pick of the 1973 draft to the Houston Oilers. He won two Super Bowls with the Oakland Raiders before deciding to retire in 1982. Matuszak went on to have small roles in several movies and television projects, mostly portraying a football player or a gentle giant. But he will mostly be remembered as Sloth.

Matuszak passed away in 1989 at the age of 38.

MOVIE LAND — Making it to the NFL is an incredible accomplishment. Less than 2 percent of college football players make an NFL roster, and most of those who do, have careers lasting less than three years.

After the NFL, most players move on to normal life and getting jobs in industries like coaching, training and broadcasting. A few former players were able to take their talents to another industry that is also hard to make it in— Hollywood.

Here are some of the lucky former NFL players to make a career as actors after their NFL careers:

Carl Weathers

Before he was Tobias Funke’s acting/life coach on “Arrested Development” or before he was trading punches with Rocky as Apollo Creed, Carl Weathers was a linebacker in the NFL.

After a successful college football career at San Diego State, Weathers played football for the Oakland Raiders from 1970-1971. He then went on to play in the Canadian Football League for a few years before deciding to hang up the cleats and focus on acting.

Terry Crews

I bet it comes as no surprise to anyone who looks at Crews to think he was once a former NFL player. Crews was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1991 as a defensive end. After stints with a few different teams over the next few years, he retired in 1997.

Since retirement, Crews has enjoyed success on shows like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” He has also appeared in several movies like “Benchwarmers” and “Blended.”

Jim Brown

Jim Brown is considered one of the greatest players to play professional football. Drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the first round in 1957 as a running back, Brown went on to break several rushing records before retiring after nine seasons.

Brown caught the acting bug toward the end of his NFL career when he was cast in “Rio Conchos” before the 1964 season began. Since then he has appeared in films like “The Dirty Dozen” and “100 Rifles.” He most recently played himself in “Draft Day.”

Bubba Smith

Smith is best known as Sgt. Moses Hightower in the “Police Academy” movies, where he played a gentle giant that you did not want to make mad. Bubba was around 6-feet-7-inches tall and weighed about 265 pounds— perfect for the intimidating roles he would play in his acting career.

Smith was the first overall pick of the 1967 draft to the Baltimore Colts where he won Super Bowl V. He retired in 1976 as a two-time Pro Bowl selection. He turned his focus to acting where he had roles in several movies and television shows. Smith also had his own short-lived television show where he starred alongside another NFL legend, Dick Butkus, called “Blue Thunder.”

Smith passed away in 2011 at the age of 66.

John Matuszak

Matuszak is not a well-known household name and some might be wondering who he is. Well, he played one of the most beloved characters of all time, Sloth from the film, “Goonies.” Being about 6-foot-8-inches tall and over 280 pounds, not only was he the perfect choice to play Chunk’s new best friend, but it also came in handy for football as well.

Matuszak was the first overall pick of the 1973 draft to the Houston Oilers. He won two Super Bowls with the Oakland Raiders before deciding to retire in 1982. Matuszak went on to have small roles in several movies and television projects, mostly portraying a football player or a gentle giant. But he will mostly be remembered as Sloth.

Matuszak passed away in 1989 at the age of 38.

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