Once upon a time, it used to be relatively common for former NFL players to make a go of it in Hollywood. Sunday names like Bubba Smith and OJ Simpson transitioned into everyday names once their careers in football were finished.
It seems as though today’s NFL player is a lot less inclined to take a stab at the big screen at the end of his career. Since Brett Favre’s cameo as himself in There’s Something About Mary, there really haven’t been many big-name NFL stars who have appeared in movies.
It’s a real shame, too. There’s a good potential talent pool in the NFL right now who already have a foot in the door, thanks to their NFL stardom.
Over the next 11 slides, we’ll take a look at some of the standout candidates who might want to consider preparing some headshots in their spare time.
Let’s face it. Tony Romo is the consummate actor.
He’s fun, he’s charismatic and he’s totally into mimicking those around him. He’s also extraordinarily photogenic and seems to pose for the camera almost unconsciously at times.
None of that helps him buckle down and win games in the offseason, but Romo is going to have to take what he can get.
He’ll easily be able to land a role in a comedy film, particularly one with lots of zany hijinks. Think of the types of films Adam Sandler tends to gravitate towards and you’ll get the general idea of where Tony Romo will excel.
Hines Ward may be bad on the field, but he’s already shown that he has a bit of a softer side.
After appearing on Dancing With the Stars, it’s clear that Ward’s talent extends well beyond the field.
Any production looking for someone with skills at dancing would be fortunate to have him. It won’t matter whether he has any talent at singing or not; if Mama Mia and other similar films have taught me anything, it's that the dancing is more important than the singing.
As Bruce Willis starts to really show his age, Hollywood producers are going to be looking for a new hero to call up whenever there’s an action role that needs filling.
The requirements are pretty simple: He’ll have to look like he could tear you apart but still have a personality that's likable enough that people will cheer for him.
That’s Adrian Peterson. Even though he looks like he could mess you up, he’s actually demonstrated over the years that he’s a pretty good guy with a nice sense of humor. He’s also got a huge name recognition factor to help him ease the transition.
After watching Aaron Rodgers do the circuit of radio and television appearances during the offseason, it has become clear that he would be a good candidate for Hollywood.
Unlike many professional athletes, Rodgers is incredibly well-spoken and comfortable in front of the camera. In fact, he’s so comfortable that he has a long-documented history of photobombing official team pictures.
In Hollywood, Rodgers would find his calling in a feel-good role. You could totally see Rodgers in a movie like In Good Company if he would just shave off that awful moustache.
It’s entirely possible that Maurice Jones-Drew might go down in history as one of the most underrated good running backs of all time.
He’s the heart of his team, and perhaps, the only Jacksonville Jaguar to seriously take the field and compete every Sunday.
Imagine if he were to put that much passion and energy into acting. Jones-Drew could play any part that he wanted. It would actually be pretty awesome to see him turn up in a suspenseful thriller as one of those supposed good guys you’re not quite sure you can trust.
We’ve learned this season that DeSean Jackson hasn’t matured a bit during his time in the NFL.
With an attitude like that, all the talent in the world isn’t going to get him the big paycheck he thinks he deserves.
Hollywood, on the other hand, rewards that kind of me-first attitude with cold, hard cash. Perhaps, Jackson will find himself lured away from the NFL by the promise of millions of dollars just for acting.
It's not hard to see him in some sort of The Fast and the Furious type of film.
It seems as though Ndamukong Suh is into the whole acting thing.
After all, he’s been doing a pretty good job of acting like he doesn’t understand why there’s a problem with his behavior this season.
In all seriousness, acting might be a good career for Suh. There's plenty of need for big, intimidating guys to play villains in movies.
Think of Vin Diesel, The Rock and other bad-boy types who’ve made a big splash on the big screen.
Rob Gronkowski may have been well known to New England Patriots fans prior to this season, but outside of that, he wasn’t exactly a household name.
All of that has changed as Gronkowski has spent the season redefining the gold standard for a tight end. The porn star “scandal” in October also helped him gain national attention.
Gronkowski could leverage that attention and that killer body as early as this offseason if he wanted to pursue the more sensual side of Hollywood.
If there’s one thing that Michael Vick’s criminal record has proved, it's that he isn’t afraid to take hold of the public’s attention and keep it.
You have to admit that he did an admirable job of handling a difficult situation and making a comeback in the NFL.
Love him or hate him, Vick is probably here to stay. I won’t comment on his acting abilities besides saying that any Hollywood director would probably love to see Vick step up to play an action comedy.
Think The Fifth Element.
Could there be any list about football players taking their skills into Hollywood that didn’t include Chad Ochocinco?
He may be well known for his antics on the field, but let’s face it: Most people love it.
He has the creativity to think up his bizarre celebration dances or the entertaining character to execute them, which will both be key when he turns to Hollywood for his turn in the limelight.
It’s pretty easy to add Greg Jennings to this list. After all, like Chad Ochocinco Jennings isn’t shy about his love for the camera.
He’s even gone on the record saying that he would like a career in acting, and he has appeared in episodes of several television shows.
In fact, Greg Jennings should perhaps be the gold standard by which the rest of the players on this list pace their Hollywood careers.
Start out relatively small and build up a name, and then wait for the offers to roll in as your career winds down.