The NFL season kicks off tomorrow.
Let’s celebrate the return of football-based entertainment by shining a spotlight on five former NFL players who made the transition to motion pictures.
There are many, but let’s keep it to a sane number and suggest five football players-turned-actors for you to find in movieland.
Brian BosworthBosworth, a former University of Oklahoma and Seattle Seahawks linebacker, parlayed his Boz persona into opportunities to be an action movie star. He made his debut in the 1991 film “Stone Cold” and has appeared in other action flicks. He played a prison guard in Adam Sandler’s remake of “The Longest Yard” and was in the cast of the 2019 movie “What Men Want.” A 1997 Fox television series (“Lawless”) starring Bosworth was short-lived.
Terry CrewsCrews was a linebacker with the L.A. Rams, L.A. Chargers and Washington Redskins in the first half of the 1990s. His acting career has eclipsed his playing career.
In addition to starring in the television programs “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Are We There Yet?” and “Brookyn Nine-Nine,” Crews has appeared in more than 40 films. He played Hale Caesar in “The Expendables” franchise. Also on his resume: “White Chicks,” “Bridesmaids,” “Terminator Salvation” and “Deadpool 2.”
Bernie CaseyCasey played eight seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams in the 1960s before transitioning to an acting career.
He was in more than 30 motion pictures and two memorable TV movies, including “Brian’s Song” and “Gargoyles.” Casey played the lead gargoyle in “Gargoyles,” which was in heavy rotation during the heyday of KTUL’s weekly “Plenty Scary Movie.”
Casey was in the cast of “Once Upon A Time... When We Were Colored,” based on Tulsan Clifton Taulbert’s book, and was in two revered 1980s comedies — “Revenge of the Nerds” and “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”
Merlin OlsenA Pro Football Hall of Famer, Olsen was selected to the Pro Bowl a record 14 consecutive seasons during his playing career with the L.A. Rams.
Olsen made his movie debut when he joined teammate Roman Gabriel in a 1969 John Wayne-Rock Hudson Western, “The Undefeated.” A man-mountain, Olsen played a character named Little George who was goaded into a fight. Said the person fighting him: “Biggest Reb I ever saw.” Replied Wayne: “That’s the biggest anything I ever saw.”
Olsen appeared in a few other movies but made a bigger impact on television (“Little House on the Prairie,” “Father Murphy,” “Aaron’s Way”).
Jim BrownBrown shocked the football world by retiring in the prime of his career at age 30 in 1966. He left as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.
Brown started the trek to acting before hanging up his Cleveland Browns jersey. His first film was 1964’s “Rio Conchos,” and he went on to appear in more than 40 movies. Among them: “The Dirty Dozen,” “Ice Station Zebra,” “The Running Man,” “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka,” “Any Given Sunday,” “He Got Game” and “Mars Attacks!”
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