The NFL Stars Who Became Famous Actors
Football players don’t always slip off into a quiet retirement once their playing days are over. While some become TV analysts or coaches, others have managed to create a second successful career for themselves as movie stars.
Louisiana-born Weathers had a relatively modest NFL career, playing just a few games for the Oakland Raiders before leaving the sport. He had a few minor film roles while he was still playing and eventually retired from the game to concentrate on his acting career.
The role that you most know him for is probably that of boxer Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies, a role which he was apparently given after criticizing Sylvester Stallone’s acting technique during the auditions.
Weathers also appeared in films as varied as Predator, Action Jackson, and Happy Gilmore, as well as many TV shows. There was even talk of him appearing in a Creed sequel.
Smith first rose to fame in college football, where he starred for Michigan State University and was eventually inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his efforts. He was the very first pick when he joined the Baltimore Cole in the NFL draft of 1967. Smith then spent nine seasons as a pro and was part of the team that won the Super Bowl V game.
In terms of acting, he is best known for playing the role of the gentle giant Moses Hightower in the Police Academy series, who ripped out the front seat of a car to give himself enough space to sit in it for his driving test. As well as a number of TV shows and commercials, he also had a part in the Burt Reynolds film named Stroker Ace.
Long spent 13 seasons playing pro football in the NFL, with the Raiders team in Oakland / LA. As a youngster, he was an all-round athlete but settled on football as his chosen sport when 15 years old. During his long pro career, he picked up eight Pro Bowl awards and won a Super Bowl.
His film career has mainly focused on appearances in action movies, such as 1998’s Firestorm. Probably his highest-profile outing was in the Broken Arrow movie in which he plays Master Sergeant Kelly, part of a search team looking for the nuclear warheads that have been hijacked by John Travolta’s character.
Known as the Hammer for his highly aggressive style of play, Williamson had a long career in the AFL with the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as a season in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His overall pro career included two touchdowns and 36 passes intercepted.
Turning to the world of movies, Williamson racked up many credits in the likes of Three the Hard Way, Tough Guys, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Starsky and Hutch. You may also recognize him from the 1970 film based on the hugely popular TV series M.A.S.H.
Perhaps the greatest player and most controversial entity on this list, Simpson was born in San Francisco and was the first running back to break the 2,000-yard mark in the NFL. His long career in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers saw him pick up 61 rushing touchdowns and many accolades.
On the big screen, he made his mark in hits like The Naked Gun and Towering Inferno. He was supposedly considered for the lead role in 1984’s The Terminator, but was finally overlooked in favor of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of course, Simpson is now best known for his long-running legal problems and court appearances, but that’s another story.
There you have, 3 NFL stars who had cameos on the big screen. And if you fancy betting on the NFL check out the current odds here: extra.betamerica.com/nfl/odds/