NFL

Top 20 NFL Players Turned Pro Wrestlers

Top 20 NFL Players Turned Pro Wrestlers

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It's tough to make it in the NFL. It's even tougher to make it in WWE. But some guys have done both. Here's a look at 20 NFL players who took their talents to the squared circle. Some made an entire career change, while others just made guest appearances. Enjoy:

20. Tito Santana

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20. Tito Santana

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Santana (real name Merced Solis) was cut from the Kansas Chiefs in Training Camp following his college career at West Texas A&M University. He then played one season for the BC Lions in the CFL.

19. Alex Karras

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19. Alex Karras

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The famous football player and actor was also a pro wrestler. During a year-long suspension from the NFL for gambling, Karras wrestled big names, including Dick the Bruiser.

18. Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns
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18. Roman Reigns

Roman Reigns
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Roman Reigns (real name Leati Joseph) was a college football star at Georgia Tech. For his efforts during his senior season, Reigns was named first-team All-ACC. However, he went undrafted out of college. After brief stints with the Vikings and Jaguars, Reigns ended up playing one season in the CFL before turning his attention to pro wrestling.

17. Verne Gagne

Verne Gagne
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17. Verne Gagne

Verne Gagne
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The long-time NWA owner was drafted in the 16th round of the 1947 draft by the Chicago Bears. However, Bears' owner George Halas would not allow Gagne to play both football and wrestling. Gagne chose wrestling, mainly because it was a much higher paying job than football at the time.

16. Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar-USA Today Sports
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16. Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar-USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Lesnar wasn't an NFL player first, but he did eventually go back to WWE after a failed stint with the Minnesota Vikings. Many believe if Lesnar had stuck with football, that he could have been a star. Instead, he headed to UFC and became the heavyweight champion.

15. Lawrence Taylor

Lawrence Taylor
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15. Lawrence Taylor

Lawrence Taylor
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Not only did LT do a guest spot run with WWE back in 1995, he main-evented WrestleMania IX. His match with Bam Bam Bigelow was very good, which solidified LT as one of the best NFL-WWE crossovers ever.

14. Reggie White

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14. Reggie White

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The late, great Reggie White entered the squared circle for a special main event match at WCW's Slamboree in 1997.

13. Kevin Greene

Green Bay Packers Kevin Greene
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13. Kevin Greene

Green Bay Packers Kevin Greene
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Greene also had a run with WCW back in the mid 1990s while his NFL career was still running strong.

12. Bill Goldberg

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12. Bill Goldberg

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Goldberg was actually selected in the 1990 NFL Draft after playing at the University of Georgia. He bounced around between a couple of teams, including the Falcons, before leaving the NFL after the 1994 season.

11. Brian Pillman

Brian Pillman
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11. Brian Pillman

Brian Pillman
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Flyin' Brian was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals for one year in 1984. He played college ball at Miami of Ohio, where he was a two-time All-American DT and also roomed with current Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

10. Ernie Ladd

Ernie Ladd
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10. Ernie Ladd

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Ladd had tremendous success in football and wrestling. The DT was inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame in 1981, the Grambling State University Hall of Fame in 1989 and the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.

9. Steve 'Mongo' McMichael

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9. Steve 'Mongo' McMichael

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Mongo was a member of the '85 Bears and played in the NFL until 1994. He then went on to a fairly successful run in WCW, including a stint with the Four Horsemen.

8. Lex Luger

Lex Luger
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8. Lex Luger

Lex Luger
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Luger had a short stint with the Packers in the early 1980s, but failed to play because of injuries. He then moved on to the USFL before joining the NWA.

7. Wahoo McDaniel

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7. Wahoo McDaniel

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McDaniel played four the Oilers, Broncos, Jets and Dolphins when they were all part of the AFL.

6. William 'The Refrigerator' Perry

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6. William 'The Refrigerator' Perry

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The Fridge had a great guest spot at WrestleMania 2 where he participated in the battle royal at the Rosemont Horizon.

5. Bronko Nagurski

Bronko Nogurski
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5. Bronko Nagurski

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Nagurski is a Pro Football Hall of Famer and a former NWA World Champion. Talk about an elite club.

4. Ron Simmons

Ron Simmons
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4. Ron Simmons

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Simmons is more well known for his time at FSU, but he did play in the NFL and USFL before turning into a pro wrestler. He went on to become the first African American world heavyweight champion in history and now is a WWE Hall of Famer.

3. Vader

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3. Vader

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Leon White, aka Vader, was a college star at Colorado. He went on to play for the Los Angeles Rams between 1977-1981. During his time as a pro football player he represented the Rams in the NFL's Arm Wrestling Championships.

2. Monty Brown

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2. Monty Brown

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Brown played for the Bills and Patriots in the 90s before taking his talents to NWA, TNA and WWE.

1. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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1. Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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Hacksaw played college football at SMU before being signed by the Atlanta Falcons. He failed to make the team, though, due to bad knees.