It's tough to make it as an actor or a professional athlete, and tougher still for one person to accomplish both. But a handful of pro athletes have managed to parley their fame into a Hollywood career. As we gear up for The Big Game, here are a handful of football players who managed to find new careers as thespians.
This former Pittsburgh Steelers player tends to appear as himself on TV, whether as a sports commentator or a guest star on various sitcoms. However, he tackled a number of more ambitious roles in the late '70s and early '80s, including ‘Hooper’ and ‘Cannonball Run.’ He even had an infamous nude scene in 2006's ‘Failure to Launch' (pictured).
Not content with going down in history as one of the greatest NFL players of all time, Jim Brown became the poster child for footballer-turned-actor. His role in 1967's ‘The Dirty Dozen’ kick-started his acting career, leading to parts in everything from ‘The Running Man’ to ‘Mars Attacks' (pictured).
Before appearing in the 'Gridiron Gang' -- and before his professional wrestling days -- Dwayne Johnson was a former footballer. He played for the University of Miami before a brief stint in the Canadian Football League. These days, Johnson is giving serious box office boosts to such movie franchises as 'G.I. Joe' and the 'Fast and Furious' series.
Though perhaps better known for his professional wrestling career, Goldberg spent the early '90s playing for teams like the Rams and Atlanta Falcons. Goldberg’s large frame and physicality also made him a natural fit for the action movie scene. His more notable roles include ‘Universal Soldier: The Return’ (pictured) and ‘Half Past Dead 2.’
This Detroit Lions star turned his attention to acting a few years after retiring from the NFL in 1970. Though perhaps best known for playing the patriarch in the sitcom ‘Webster,’ he also appeared in films like ‘Blazing Saddles’ (pictured) and ‘Porky's.’
Much like Terry Bradshaw, Long has become a regular TV presence thanks to his work as a sportscaster and a commercial spokesman. However, he enjoyed a brief run on the big screen thanks to action films like ‘Broken Arrow’ and ‘Firestorm' (pictured).
Having earned an impressive four Super Bowl rings by 2003, Romanowski turned his attention to acting and writing. He's appeared in sports-centric films like ‘The Longest Yard’ (pictured) and ‘The Benchwarmers,’ as well as the recent reboot of ‘Get Smart.’
These days, O.J. Simpson's name is most associated with his infamous 1994 murder trial. Before that time, though, he had a somewhat promising Hollywood career, appearing in the miniseries ‘Roots’ and all three ‘Naked Gun’ films.
Smith enjoyed a distinguished football career on both the college and professional levels. After turning to Hollywood in the mid-'80s, he found success playing Moses Hightower in several ‘Police Academy’ films.
After a brief career as an NFL player in the early '70s, Weathers scored an iconic role in the ‘Rocky’ films, playing Balboa’s rival-turned-best-friend, Apollo Creed. Weathers most recently turned to comedy, with fan-favorite appearances on the sitcom ‘Arrested Development.’
This decorated defensive back appeared alongside fellow NFL-er Jim Brown in a number of films, including 1974's ‘Three the Hard Way’ and 1975's ‘Take a Hard Ride.’ Fans may know him best thanks to his role as a vampire killer of sorts in the 1996 cult-fav, ‘From Dusk Till Dawn' (pictured).