A Brief History
On October 21, 1973, defensive end Fred Dryer of the Los Angeles Rams (yes, that is where they played before St. Louis, and they were the Cleveland Rams before that) became the first player in NFL history to score 2 safeties in 1 game, a remarkable feat.
Not because of that curious statistic, but because of his good looks and acting ability Dryer went on to become a successful Hollywood actor, notably in the title role of the television series, Hunter (1984-1991).
Not only did Dryer have a stellar 13 year pro football career and star on the aforementioned TV show, but he also appeared in other television shows, movies, and produced, wrote and directed for film.
Quite a few NFL stars have gone on to successful acting careers (some notably more successful than others), starting with the great Jim Brown, former running back of the Cleveland Browns who quit football when he was still the top running back in the game in order to make movies. In his 9 years playing in the NFL, Brown was probably the greatest football player in NFL history, but in those days (1957-165) his football salary could not even come close to what he could make as an actor. And this in spite of leading the league in rushing 8 of his 9 years and averaging over 100 yards rushing per game. Brown went on to star in such films as The Dirty Dozen (1967), 100 Rifles (1969), Slaughter (1972), I’m Gonna Get You, Sucka (1988), and Mars Attacks (1996)!
Brown’s successor as a candidate for best NFL running back, OJ Simpson, also went on to a big-time acting career, showing up in The Towering Inferno (1974) and the Naked Gun series of movies, as well as numerous television commercials. Unfortunately, his latest role is “convicted felon doing time in prison.”
Fred “The Hammer” Williamson was well known for starring in “blaxploitation” films such as Black Caesar (1973), and even some films with Jim Brown, as well as television appearances. Williamson bragged before Super Bowl I that he would knock out Green Bay Packer receivers with devastating blows, but was himself the one knocked out of the game! Acting proved more reliable, and “The Hammer” has also produced and directed.
Other football stars such as Alex Karras, Roosevelt Grier, Sinbad, Bubba Smith (of the Police Academy series of films), Howie Long, Terry Bradshaw, Carl “Apollo Creed” Weathers, Terry Crews Merlin Olsen, Michael Strahan, Dick Butkus, Ed Marinaro, Woody Strode (1 year in NFL, many years acting), Mike Ditka, Bill Goldberg, Brian Bosworth, and dozens of current or former NFL players have made cameo appearances in movies and television (think Brett Favre in There’s Something About Mary).
Of course, the player/actors named here are not the only ones. Tell us the names of some other NFL player/actors that you like, and how about nominate some current players that should become future actors!
If you liked this article and would like to receive notification of new articles, please feel welcome to subscribe to History and Headlines by entering your email address at the top right of this page or like us on Facebook.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…