The first overall pick in the 1967 draft, a Pro-Bowler and a Super Bowl champion, Bubba Smith had a solid NFL career. Still he's better known for teaming up with Steve Guttenberg and Michael Winslow in the Police Academy movies. As Lt. Moses Hightower, Smith provides the brawn on an otherwise weakly cast.
2 of 22Larry Spangler Productions
Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Broadway Joe Namath had trouble turning down acting roles after his NFL days ended. Aside from appearances on TV shows like The A-Team, The Love Boat , and Alf , Namath also starred in the 1971 movie, The Last Rebel.
3 of 22Neil Leifer/SI
Before his various legal issues, O.J. Simpson was the best known NFL player to successfully transition to Hollywood. Besides portraying the stumbling Officer Nordberg in all three Naked Gun movies, Simpson also appeared in Roots, The Cassandra Crossing, Capricorn One, The Klansman and The Towering Inferno.
4 of 22Mike Powell/Getty Images
After quickly fizzling out in the NFL, Brian Bosworth enjoyed similar success in Hollywood. The Boz starred in the 1991 film, Stone Cold , as "a cop who enforces his own brand of justice." The role earned Bosworth a Razzie nomination for Worst New Star. It would have looked good next to his Butkus Awards.
5 of 22Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Although he was a member of the 1960s All-Decade NFL Team, Alex Karras is far better known as Emmanuel Lewis's adoptive father on the 1980s sitcom Webster . Shockingly, he didn't even showcase his full range in Webster. Karras was considered for the role of Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather , and appeared in both Blazing Saddles and Victor/Victoria .
6 of 22Diane Johnson/Icon SMI
The only man in NFL history to record two safeties in one game, Fred Dryer went on to broader success in life after football. As the title character in NBC's Hunter , Dryer played an LAPD homicide detective for seven seasons. He has also produced and directed.
7 of 22Chuck Solomon/SI
A nine-time Pro-Bowler, Howie Long scored a starring role in the 1998 film, Firestorm. Despite playing an athletic character, Long's prowess on the gridiron didn't translate into success on the screen. Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post wrote: "Howie Long is to acting what Sir Laurence Olivier was to the National Football League: that is, nothing at all."
8 of 22AP
He announced his retirement after Browns' owner, Art Modell, insisted that he report to training camp instead of finishing work on the film, The Dirty Dozen. The Hall of Famer played memorable roles in Slaughter, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka and Any Given Sunday. He has shared the screen with Raquel Welch, Burt Reynolds and Charles Bronson.
9 of 22Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
The first overall pick in the 1973 draft, and a two-time Super Bowl champion, Matuszak wore a Raiders t-shirt on screen in his most notable acting role -- Sloth, in The Goonies . Matuszak appeared in numerous 80s sitcoms and dramas, including Miami Vice, Perfect Strangers, The Dukes of Hazzard and The A-Team.
10 of 22Bob Rosato/SI
After appearing on the small screen on HBO's Arliss , Brett Favre (and his tough-to-pronounce last name) made the jump to Hollywood in There's Something About Mary . Favre apparently did not take acting classes during his brief retirement, because he has only appeared on screen as himself.
11 of 22John Biever/SI
Even on the big screen, Dan Marino did not win a Super Bowl. In the movie, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective , Marino is kidnapped by a disgruntled former-placekicker who blames the quarterback's hold for the field goal he missed in the 1984 championship game. Jim Carrey saved the day, but Marino still didn't get a ring.
12 of 22John Iacono/SI
Alzado took his trademark intensity to Hollywood, where he starred as a serial killer in Destroyer. The former Raider great also appeared in Ernest Goes to Camp and played a high school principal/pro wrestler in Learning the Ropes. Who would you add to the list? Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
13 of 22Kirby Lee/US Presswire
A Hall of Fame defensive tackle for the St. Louis Rams, Merlin Olsen was a star on the gridiron during the 1960s and 1970s. After his retirement, he proved he was also a star off it. Olsen played Jonathan Garvey on the hit-series Little House on the Prairie, portraying the farmer from 1977-81. Among his memorable lines: "I don't know nothin' `bout football."
14 of 22TSN/Icon SMI
A two-time All American and four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, Roman Gabriel enjoyed a lengthy, 16-year career with the Raiders and Rams. His acting tenure was shorter lived, highlighted by primarily by roles in Skidoo (1968) and The Undefeated (1969), the latter of which he played Blue Boy, John Wayne's adopted Indian son.
15 of 22Patrick Green/Southcreek Global/ZUMAPRESS.com
Nicknamed "The Hammer" during his career with the Steelers, Raiders and Chiefs, Williamson was known for his flashy, hard-hitting style. It only makes sense then, that he'd transition to Hollywood after retirement, starring in the original M*A*S*H as well as Hell Up in Harlem (1973) and The Bronx Warriors (1983). More recently, he portrayed Captain Dobey in the 2004 remake of Starsky & Hutch.
16 of 22John D. Hanlon/SI
A defensive end for the Packers, Redskins and Raiders, Ben Davidson used his 6-8, 275 frame to bully opponents during his 11-year career. His size also benefitted him on the big screen. He was cast as Rexor in Conan the Barbarian (1982), though he is eventually defeated by Arnold Schwarzenegger, a physically imposing presence in his own right.
17 of 22Twentieth Century Fox
Bradshaw led the Steelers to four Super Bowl victories in his Hall of Fame career, earning him praise and plenty of attention. He never shied away from it. Following his retirement, the quarterback took to Hollywood, appearing in Hooper (1978), The Cannonball Run (1981) and several other movies, television shows and commercials. In 2006, he appeared in theaters again, playing Matthew McConaughey's father in Failure to Launch.
18 of 22Andy Altenburger/Icon SMI
A star defensive tackle for the Patriots, Browns and Raiders, Bob Golic racked up 22.5 sacks in his 14-year career. He retired in 1992, promptly proceeded to portray an ex-football player. Beginning in 1993, he claimed the role of Mike Rogers, the tough yet caring dorm adviser on Saved by the Bell: The College Years.
19 of 22Frank Trapper/Corbis Sygma
The injury-riddled Weathers (left) had a brief professional football career, playing for the Raiders in 1970-71 and the CFL's BC Lions until 1973. He then turned to acting, where he achieved considerably longer success. Some of his well-known roles include Dillon in Predator (1987), Chubbs Peterson in Happy Gilmore (1996) and, perhaps most of all, Apollo Creed in Rocky (1976).
20 of 22Neil Leifer/SI
During his 15-year career with the Green Bay Packers, Ray Nitschke was perceived as a smart, seasoned, physical linebacker, playing a key role in the team's Super Bowl I and II triumphs. He gave off that same persona on the big screen, appearing in 1974's The Longest Yard.
21 of 22Neil Leifer/SI
One of the most feared players in NFL History, Dick Butkus was an unmistakable presence on the football field, earning eight Pro Bowl nods and six First Team All-Pro selections. True to form, he maintained that personality as an actor. Though he appeared in various television shows after retirement, his acting career is probably defined by his portrayal of himself in Brian's Song (1971).
22 of 22Tony Triolo/SI
Aside from unforgettable playing and broadcasting careers, "Dandy Don" Meredith tried his hand at acting as well. He appeared in movies such as Terror on the 40th Floor (1974) and Three Days of Rain (2002), most notably starring as the title role in Banjo Hackett, a 1976 Western.
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