20 Celebrities Who Could Have Been in the NFL

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The NFL Could Have Used These 20 Celebrities

tommy lee jones
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Movies can be deceiving, but they can also give us a glimpse into what might have been with some actors, especially those who look extremely natural playing athletes in sports movies. That specifically applies to football as many athletes you see playing football players actually laced up their cleats on the gridiron back in the day and likely could have become stars in the NFL had they stuck with it. Of course, there’s more money and less chance of an ACL tear with acting and similar careers, so you can’t really blame them.

Having said that, it would have been awesome to see some of these celebrities in action on the gridiron. After watching movies like Remember the Titans and The Longest Yard, you’re at least tempted to believe some of those actors could really ball, right?

Now we should clarify that actors like Terry Crews are not included because he actually played in the NFL. The same goes for Michael Irvin, who made his in-depth acting debut in The Longest Yard. No, we’re only sticking with celebs who have no professional football experience, although some came really close. In fact, that’s probably the most surprising fact about many of these celebrities who could have played in the NFL.

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Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon
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A little known fact about Mark Harmon is that he was the starting quarterback at UCLA for two seasons before moving on to an acting career. He didn’t set records, but he held his own and likely could have at least made an NFL roster.

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Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum
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Did you see Channing Tatum’s moves in the movie Step Up? The man’s athleticism is up there with the average NFL player and it’s safe to say this dude could hold his own on the football field.

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Ryan Seacrest

Ryan Seacrest
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Not only did Ryan Seacrest play defensive back at Dunwoody High School in Georgia, he was a stud. He was a hard hitter and was known for “knocking the crap out of people,” according to his former coach. Oh, and his team was pretty good — Dunwoody won the state title his senior year.

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Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox
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As a student at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, Fox was a receiver on a college football team that went 2-38 during his time with the team. The team was terrible, but he wasn’t half bad. He could have at least made a practice squad in the NFL.

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Ice Cube

Ice Cube
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Although he started pursing music at an early age, Ice Cub has shown mad skills when balling casually with friends. Let’s put it this way: He’s always the first pick at celebrity events.

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Chad Murray

Chad Murray
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Before becoming an actor, Chad Murray was a solid football player at Clarence High School in New York. He played quarterback until a stomach injury hospitalized him for four months. His career never got back on track, although some say he was good enough to play DI and perhaps in the NFL.

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James Van Der Beek

James Van Der Beek
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Sure, he was the backup quarterback in Varsity Blues, but James Van Der Beek actually has some football skills, which is why he was a great choice to play his part in the movie. In fact, he was unfairly better than everyone else at the 2011 Madden NFL Pigskin Pro-Am game. Dude can ball.

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Mario Lopez

Mario Lopez
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He didn’t play football, but Mario Lopez was a state champion wrestler in California and wrestling is a relatively easy sport to transition its skill set to football. Judging by how successful he was as a wrestler, it’s safe to say Lopez would have held his own on the gridiron.

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Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds
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As a stud fullback at Palm Beach High School, Burt Reynolds roomed with Lee Corso while on a football scholarship at Florida State. Not only did he play for the Seminoles, Reynolds was a popular choice to win All-American honors and play in the NFL until a car accident ruined his athletic career.

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Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg
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He plays in a lot of action movies, but Mark Wahlberg has never really shown off his athleticism, which could be changed if he was in a real sports movie. In other words, he would show the world that he easily could have played safety in the NFL.

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Dean Cain

Dean Cain
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Before becoming Superman in the television series, Dean Cain was a stud football player at Santa Monica High School in California and even tried out for the Bills before blowing out his knee. Had it not been for that injury, he likely would have played at least a few years in the NFL.

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Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone
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Before becoming the popular action-movie star that he is today, Sylvester Stallone was a running back on his high school football team and even played briefly in college before quitting to purse an acting career. Legend has it he was a hard hitter and as tough on the gridiron as he appeared in the Rocky movies.

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Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey
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As a native Texan, Matthew McConaughey was already connected to football even without his father, who briefly played for the Packers. A University of Texas alumn, McConaughey has been seen at Longhorns football practices throwing a pretty spiral. He also once ran with Lance Armstrong (and kept up with him), so if nothing else, he probably could have played quarterback.

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Nelly

Nelly
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You know those awesome moves Nelly showed off as a running back in The Longest Yard? Well, those were real. The rapper has mad skills on the gridiron and his agility would easily make him a legit NFL running back.

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Ed O’Neill

Ed O’Neill
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The current Modern Family star also played the great Kevin O’Shea in Little Giants and for good reason: he was a stud football player in high school and college and even tried out for the Steelers in 1969.

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Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg
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This one is a lot easier because most folks have actually seen Snoop Dogg play football as the man eerily resembles Randy Moss on the gridiron. He’s got hands, speed and his awareness of where he is on the field while running routes and looking up for the ball is incredible.

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Matt Damon

Matt Damon
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When he played in Invictus, Matt Damon showed that he has the athletic ability to play the world’s sport that is closest to football. Put simply, he could easily take his talents to the gridiron if he wanted to.

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Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx
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As a Terrell, Texas native, Jamie Foxx naturally played football in high school and legend has it he was pretty good. He may not have been able to play quarterback in the pros like he did at Terrell, but he could have held his own as a defensive back for sure.

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
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The wrestler-turned-actor played football at Miami and won the national title with the Hurricanes in 1991. An injury ultimately derailed his career, but the 6-foot-5, 260-pounder was certainly a promising NFL prospect before that.

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Tommy Lee Jones

Tommy Lee Jones
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An old soul from Midland, Texas, Tommy Lee Jones played football at Harvard on scholarship and was a member of the school’s 1968 undefeated team. Since he likely wouldn’t have been a top draft pick, Jones elected to pursue acting and we’re glad he did, but it would have been interesting to see how he would have fared in the NFL.


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