Before Travis Kelce’s Return to Hollywood, 5 NFL Stars Including Terry Crews and Carl Weathers Completed the NFL Transition

Published 05/08/2024, 1:41 AM EDT

Travis Kelce's journey from the NFL to the music scene, marked by his relationship with Taylor Swift, has now led him to the doorsteps of the glitzy Tinseltown. Transitioning from the football field to the realm of entertainment, Kelce is poised to make his debut on screen in Ryan Murphy's FX horror series, Grotesquerie. While this move offers fans a peek into his life beyond his on-season sessions and high-profile romance, Kelce is not the first NFL star to make this transition. 

With him are other gridiron greats like Terry Crews and Carl Weathers, who have seamlessly transitioned from the football field to the screen. Hence, here is a list of 5 NFL stars who have seasoned themselves in both.

Terry Crews


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Much before Travis Kelce stepped into the realm of acting with Ryan Murphy’s horror series, Terry Crews transitioned from the big leagues to the big screens. Crews is a retired NFL linebacker and defensive end who played for six seasons. At first, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1991, with whom he played for two seasons. He followed the San Diego Chargers for another two before switching to the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles for the rest of his stay.

Crews retired in 1997 to follow his dream of working in the movie-making industry and since then, he has bagged several big-impact shows and films. His screen debut was in 1999 with Black Dome but over the years, he has taken the helm of star-studded projects like Deadpool 2, The Expendables, The Family Crews, and most famously, the iconic sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine. 

Carl Weathers

Carl Weathers flexed his athletic genes from the days of his college. Although Weathers went undrafted, he commenced as a free agent for the Oakland Raiders by playing seven games with them, helping them win the AFC West Division title. During his college years, he played as a defensive end, but because of his ankle injury; he moved to San Diego University to play before retiring from the game in 1974.

The NFL player already had a degree in drama and hence, the switch was almost organic when he made his Hollywood debut with Friday Foster. His career gathered steam with his iconic portrayal of Apollo Creed in Sylvester Stallone's Rocky series. While he boasts an impressive array of roles, his involvement in the revered Star Wars franchise stands out as a highlight of his acting résumé.

O.J. Simpson

Before things went north and south, O.J. Simpson was an aspiring track athlete who found his home at the NFL grounds for 11 good seasons. The athlete-cum-actor played primarily for the Buffalo Bills as a running back and defensive back. Simpson, however, was a jack of all trades who warmed up to Hollywood really soon during his time at the NFL. He appeared in productions like the television miniseries, Roots and then made his move to motion pictures like The Klansman, The Towering Inferno, and more.

He was apparently even being considered for the eponymous character in The Terminator, according to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the latter was cast eventually. While Simpson's NFL mentions are now relegated to Kim Kardashian's roasts, such as the one where she received a less-than-enthusiastic response at Tom Brady's Netflix special, The Greatest Roast of All Time, his name also surfaces prominently whenever the achievements of successful actor-athletes are discussed.

John David Washington

John David Washington, famously known for his role in Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, began his athletic journey during college. Since he was not selected in the 2006 NFL draft, he signed up as an undrafted free agent for the St. Louis Rams. From there on, he played for Rhein Fire before proceeding with his career in the United Football League. However, because of the league’s disbandment in 2012, Washington took an about-turn to knock on Hollywood’s door.

As a student, he was first featured in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X but as an adult; he made his television debut in Stephen Levison’s Ballers, where he encountered his known roots as an NFL competitive player, Ricky Jerret. He has since starred in several projects like Malcolm & Marie, Amsterdam, and The Creator. 

Dwayne Johnson

Currently, Dwayne Johnson has been making the rounds of the MCU with casting rumors that could initiate a galactic switch for the star. However, years ago, he had his eyes on sports- not wrestling, but football. The Rock played football for the Miami Hurricanes during his college life and recorded 4.5 sacks and 77 tackles through 39 games. Although Johnson's athletic dream was for his NFL success, his shoulder injury instead led him to the CFL as a linebacker.


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Unfortunately, the injury setbacks soon impacted his CFL journey, making him transit to the professional wrestling realm. Thereafter, in 1999, Johnson took another leap with his jump to Hollywood in That ‘70s Show and since then, he has been on the frontline of several box office successes. He solidified his presence in the Fast & Furious franchise and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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As one of Hollywood's top earners, Johnson continually enriches his acting portfolio with each new project and presently stands as a prime example of success in transitioning from athletics to acting. Hence, it is fair to say that Travis Kelce has a host of successful role models to guide him on his journey.


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Were you aware of these 5 Hollywood stars who began as an NFL player other than Travis Kelce? Let us know in the comments below!



Anushka Bhattacharya

722 articles

I'm Anushka Bhattacharya, an entertainment journalist at Netflix Junkie. Armed with a degree in literature, I once wielded my words to catalyze change within society through my work with NGOs. However, as I stumbled into the exuberant hole of crime thrillers and documentaries on Netflix, it was love at first sight and pushed me into entertainment journalism.

Edited By: Aliza Siddiqui