NFL players are known to be the best athletes in the world. They are muscular, fast, explosive, and extremely flexible. They have the endurance and stamina that others would kill for since they have to play 60 minutes of physical football.
These skills are extremely valuable in the professional wrestling world. WWE stars have to suffer similar or even more injuries during their fights and NFL players could be perfect for that role.
There are a lot of NFL players who made their way to WWE after completing their football careers. Some had to join the professional wrestling scene because of their unsuccessful run in the league. So, let’s take a look at former NFL players who have appeared in the WWE and made it big in one of the most loved sports around the world.
One of the best defensive players of all time, Lawrence Taylor played in the NFL for 13 seasons as an outside linebacker for the New York Giants. The second overall pick in the 1981 NFL draft, Taylor won a lot of awards in his career including – 2x Super Bowls, 1986 NFL MVP, 3x NFL Defensive Player of the Year, 1981 Defensive Rookie of the Year, and a lot more.
Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012, Ron Simmons was a fan favorite in the wrestling world. Simmons became the first African-American to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championships. He was also a prominent star in the WWF (WWE was previously known as WWF) winning three tag-team championships with Bradshaw.
Ron Simmons made it to the NFL before starring in WCW and WWF. He was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round of the 1981 NFL draft. He was on the offseason/practice squad for the Browns and made his first start as a defensive tackle for the Bucs for two years before retiring.
3. Pat McAfee
Pat McAfee is arguably one of the best punters in the league. He played in the NFL for eight years for the Indianapolis Colts. However, his rise to prominence came after his NFL career when he started as an analyst. McAfee also runs his show on YouTube called The Pat McAfee Show where he talks about the daily happening of the league and interviews players.
He made his way into the WWE world as a color commentator in 2018. McAfee starred in the NXT with his own storyline titled The Kings of NXT. He then went on to start in WrestleMania 38 where he defeated Theory and then went on to challenge Vince McMahon and lost the battle. In WrestleMania 39, Pat McAfee challenged The Miz and emerged victorious.
Gronk is known to have immense love for professional wrestling which led him to appear in the WWE. Back in 2017, Gronkowski made his debut in WrestleMania 33 to help his friend Mojo Rawley. The “complete” tight end hosted WrestleMania 36 and won the WWE 24/7 Championship a day later.
Everyone around the globe knows Goldberg. He made his mark in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) before it closed down and came to WWE where he ended up being a legend. Bill Goldberg won the 2017 WWE Universal Championship and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018.
Not everyone knows that Goldberg started his career in the NFL as a defensive tackle. He was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the 11th round of the 1990 draft. Goldberg didn’t get any playing time with the Rams but played games for the Atlanta Falcons from 1992-1994. In the 14 games he played, Goldberg made 14 tackles. His professional football career came to an end after he tore his lower abdomen off his pelvis.
Yash Karandekar is an NFL author at FirstSportz. He fell in love with the sport since his early days and has been an ardent follower ever since. He is a proud Buffalo Bills fan when he isn't busy being totally amazed by everything Tom Brady does. A final year undergraduate student of Mechanical Engineering, he is eagerly waiting for Brady to claim his 8th Super Bowl and further cement his legacy. Yash loves watching reruns of previous Super Bowls in addition to watching thriller movies and series and is a total history nerd.
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