Top WWE stars that were in the NFL

The WWE is one of the biggest companies in the world of sports entertainment. However, many of the stars that have become household names in the WWE have previously been seen in other sports before crossing over.

There are well-known links between WWE and MMA, but also many wrestlers have tried their hand at American Football, and even played in the NFL.

Brock Lesnar

There are few bigger stars in the world than Brock Lesnar when it comes to professional wrestling. Lesnar made his mark on his first stint in WWE between 2000 and 2004. However, when he left the company, he went on to become a bigger star.

He turned his hand to American Football in 2004 shortly after leaving the WWE, as he played during the offseason for his local team, the Minnesota Vikings.

However, Lesnar just missed out on making the team after picking up a groin injury after a motorcycle accident. So, instead of becoming one of the top 5 best kickers in NFL history, he became a wrestling legend instead.

Following this, he turned to MMA, and went on to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship during a three-year run in UFC before returning to WWE in 2012.

Roman Reigns

The face of the company also tried his hand at American Football before landing in the WWE. Reigns went undrafted in the 2007 Draft but was signed by the Minnesota Vikings.

However, the diagnosis of leukaemia led to his release later in the same month. He was then picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars, before being released just seven days before the start of the NHL season.

However, he did play professional football in Canada for a season with the Edmonton Eskimos. After a season with the CFL team, he retired from the sport and quickly was signed up by WWE developmental brand FCW. He made his debut on WWE television in 2012, and since then, has won the WWE Championship on three occasions and the Universal Championship twice.


Goldberg was one of the most famous wrestlers throughout the late 90s and early 2000s. However, before popularising the spear, which was later used by both Reigns and Edge, he played America Football. He was selected 301 overall in the 1990 NFL Draft, and stayed for a season with Los Angeles Rams. His main playing time came with the Sacramento Gold Miners and Atlanta Falcons. He stayed with the Falcons between 1992 and 1994, before being cut.

The recently formed Carolina Panthers then picked up Goldberg in the 1995 Expansion Draft, but he was to be the first player cut in Panthers history. After retiring following injury, Goldberg embarked on a career in the WWE, making his debut in 1996. He left the company in 2004, before returning to WWE in 2016 to become Universal Champion. His most recent match in WWE was against Bobby Lashley at Crown Jewel in October.

Ron Simmons

Ron Simmons is one of the most celebrated WWE superstars, and played integral parts in the development of many future champions during his career, including The Rock and JBL. However, before he made his debut in WCW in 1986, he was a renowned professional footballer. He played for the Cleveland Browns in 1981 after being selected in the sixth round of the 1981 Draft.

Simmons later enjoyed two seasons with the Tampa Bay Bandits, where he played alongside fellow future professional wrestler, Lex Luger. After his career in professional football, Simmons won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, before enjoying three WWF Tag Team Championship reigns alongside JBL. His achievements were honoured in 2012, as he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, four current and past WWE who almost made it in the national football league before shifting to wrestling.

Do you think there will be more former football stars who will take on the world of entertainment wrestling? Which football player would you like to see on the WWE rings?

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