Where are they now? Former Cowboy Nate Newton on this week's SI Cover
But after spending his last season in 1999 with the Carolina Panthers, Newton, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, found himself on the wrong side of the law just two years later.
After highly publicized arrests for marijuana possession (he spent 30 months in jail), Newton wanted to turn his life around and did so by trying to find employment, getting his health in order and finding religion.
"There was no thunder and lightning. I didn't have an out-of-body experience and go flying over the city," Newton says about getting right with religion. "You know what, God? I'm going to give you a try. I'm going to ride with you."
Once weighing well over 400 pounds, Newton, now 52, had 75 percent of his stomach removed after vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery, losing almost 200 pounds. Almost unrecognizable from his playing days, Newton can now be heard on the airwaves of Dallas as a radio and television broadcaster.
For more on Newton, check out Austin Murphy's piece in this week's issue of Sports Illustrated (subscribe here).
Others featured in SI's 15th "Where Are They Now?" issue include the infamous 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who lost all 14 of their games in their inaugural season; MLB Hall of Famer Hank Aaron; Olympic soccer champion Briana Scurry; and decathletes Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson, most famous for their 1992 Reebok campaign before the Barcelona games.
Also featured: former Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett, who was paralyzed in a 2007 game, but learned to walk again; Angelo Pizzo, who penned feel-good sports movies such as Hoosiers and Rudy; former Oklahoma star running back Marcus Dupree; former NBA player Harold “Baby Jordan” Miner; and sportscaster Van Earl Wright.