The NFL draft used to be a 2-day marathon event held in New York City. It’s now expanded and been turned into a huge media event that starts with “primetime” coverage for the first couple of rounds on Thursday and Friday before resuming with full day coverage on Saturday and Sunday. What does this have to do with non-sports? Well, many successful college football players don’t make it to the NFL, but they do become successful actors. Here are my five top college/professional football players that have become successful actors and have appeared on non-sport trading cards.
Mark Harmon The starting quarterback at UCLA from 1972 – 1974, Mark never pursued a NFL career but he’s been a very successful actor. Mark is best known for his role on the television show NCIS. Rittenhouse Archives will be releasing NCIS Trading Card set this summer and there will be at least one card featuring memorabilia worn by Mark Harmon on the show. For now, the only non-sport cards featuring Mark are the two promo cards that have been released for NCIS.
Dean Cain Dean was a successful football player at Princeton University where he played free safety and had a record 12 interceptions in one season. He was signed by the Buffalo Bills but a knee injury prevented him from ever playing in the NFL. Dean is best known for his role as Clark Kent/Superman in the television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The Lois & Clark set didn’t have any autographs, but Dean has signed trading cards for Topps 2011 American Pie trading card series.
Burt Reynolds Burt was a half-back at Florida State University. He has starred in numerous television series and films including Gunsmoke, Evening Shade, Smokey and the Bandit, and The Cannonball Run. Burt signed autograph cards for several non-sport card sets including, The Twilight Zone, Americana and The X-Files.
Fred Dryer In college, Fred was a defensive lineman for San Diego State. He also had a very successful career in the NFL as a defensive end 1969 – 1980 and ended up with 104 sacks. In 2003 the NFL Alumni presented Dryer with its Career Achievement Award. Of the field, Fred is best known for his roles in the television series Cheers and Hunter.
Fred Williamson Fred played college football for Northwestern and actually had a successful career as a professional football player before turning to acting. Fred was known as a hard hitting player in the NFL and AFL and was given the nickname “The Hammer” as he used his forearms to knock opposing players in the head (which would not be allowed in today’s NFL) . His acting career included roles in the movies M*A*S*H, Starsky and Hutch and From Dusk Till Dawn.