Many youngsters dream about a career in football but the truth is that life as a professional footballer is short lived for most. For that reason, a lot of players need to look at what they’ll do in the longer term too with some even taking the choice to turn their back on the game they love prior to making it to the big time. Here we look at five players who found their celebrity status in a different walk of life.
Number 5. Phil McGraw
McGraw, who is better known as Dr Phil, might have graduated college with a degree in psychology but he could have had a very different route to fame had his football career worked out. He played as a linebacker for both Tulsa and the Midwestern State sides.
Unfortunately, one of the most noteworthy moments of his football career was the time his team were on the receiving end of a 100-6 mauling by Houston. Thank goodness he had an excellent understanding of psychology to keep spirits from crashing too low!
Number 4. Goldberg
That’s right, the man who became known around the globe for an undefeated streak and a lethal spear finishing move in the wrestling ring actually made some pretty decent strides into a career as a pro footballer playing in both the CFL and NFL. In 1990 he was a round 11 pick by the LA Rams before moving on to the Sacramento Surge where he helped them to a World Bowl win playing as defensive tackle.
Spells with the Sacramento Gold Miners and Atlanta Falcons followed but injury ultimately curtailed any chance of a longer career. We all know how NFL career ending injuries cut some promising stars future too short.
By 1995 Goldberg was making his wrestling debut. Given he’s still on a contract with the WWE, it’s fair to say he hasn’t done too bad for himself.
Number 3. Burt Reynolds
If Goldberg’s football ending injury was a blow then think how Reynolds, who sadly passed away in 2018, would have felt. He never even made it to the NFL. The Hollywood sex symbol was tipped for a glowing career after starring for Florida State as a halfback but in his second season fate struck what seemed a cruel blow.
The NFL dream was over, but his path changed and even on the big screen football played its part with Reynolds featuring in not one but two versions of The Longest Yard. The first in 1974 when he played the lead role of Paul Crewe and again in 2005 when he was offered a less physical role as coach Nate Scarborough on the remake starring Adam Sandler.
Number 2. Terry Crews
Have you seen Terry Crews? It is hardly a surprise that he made a tidy defensive end. The man is ripped like a professional athlete. Although he represented five professional teams – four of whom were in the NFL – he never spent more than a solitary season with any of them and his name would mean nothing to anyone other than diehard football addicts if it wasn’t for his career as an actor.
He worked alongside Reynolds in the remake of The Longest Yard but is probably best known for his work in comedy sitcoms Everybody Loves Chris and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Number 1. Dwayne Johnson
Topping our list is Dwayne Johnson. It’s hard to argue against him deserving this spot too given he’s just been named as Instagram’s most valuable account where he’s able to charge $1m per post!! Despite Johnson shooting to fame as a wrestling star under his ring name “The Rock” in the mid-nineties it’s now for his acting in countless Hollywood blockbusters that have earned him the fame he has today.
Before it all though, he was an aspiring footballer. He played defensive tackle for the University of Miami where he won the national championship in 1991 and was tipped for stardom until injury allowed Warren Sapp to jump ahead of him in the pecking order. A short spell in the CFL still gave Johnson a brief taste of pro football but we don’t think he’ll have too many complaints with how things have worked out.
There you have it, five big name celebs who had dreamed for a different sort of life at one time or another. It just goes to show that when one door closes, another truly does open.