The iconic actor and former wrestler recounts his fleeting NFL "career" and discusses how Muhammad Ali helped him create his brash image.
MAGGIE GRAY: I don't think a lot of people realize this about you, but you once tried out for the Green Bay Packers. What do you remember about that experience?
MR. T: Well, it wasn't much of an experience. I feel that it was in another lifetime. Last century, as a matter of fact. About 1971, '72. I didn't even get to the field. I had a couple buddies, and we left Chicago and thought we were tough. We said, "Let's just drive up there and see if we can make the team." But we didn't even really get to the gym.
June 22, 2015
MG: Before you got famous as the Mr. T we now know, you were a bouncer and a bodyguard. At one point for Muhammad Ali. What was it like to work for him?
MR. T: That was my greatest experience because he was my hero. He came to my high school [in Chicago], where I was a wrestling champion. He taught me a lot. He said, "You've got to be different, but good." A lot of people look different and wear wild things, but they're not good. Ali told me that's the main reason he got to fight [Sonny] Liston. Ali was different. He had to break out of the box and say, "Hey, I'm coming after you, fool! I want to fight you!" And basically that's sort of like how my character in Rocky III was. I wanted [Rocky] Balboa, but he didn't want to fight me. So you say to yourself, "Be aggressive. You got to be assertive."
MG: So did you go after him? Did you hit Sly Stallone?
MR. T: Yeah, we had gloves on. He took it. He's a macho guy.
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"He said, 'You've got to be different, but good.'"
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