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NFL Players Who Eventually Joined The WWE

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There has been a long history of football players shifting to wrestling because some of the same skills – especially for linemen – overlap. We’re taking a look back through history to track eight times that NFL players were playing in the pros but then shifted to the professional wrestling.

Bill Goldberg

Goldberg was only able to play 14 total games throughout his NFL career until he was forced to retire due to injury. He was drafted back in 1990 and played the nose tackle position on the defensive side of the ball. Throughout the games that he was able to play in, he was only able to record 11 total tackles with no fumble’s recoveries or interceptions. He also didn’t record a sack.

After his injury, he was rediscovered after joining the WCW in 1997 and had an incredibly impressive career there. He was able to put together an impressive undefeated streak and happened to be one of the WCW’s most popular stars.

Lawrence Taylor

Lawrence Taylor was one of the greatest outside linebackers to play the game of football. He had played in 184 games throughout his 13-year NFL career and had recorded 132.5 sacks. Along with that, he had a number of accolades as well. He was selected to 10 Pro Bowls, he was named to the First Team All-Pro eight times, was Player of the Week nine times and was in the top ten in sacks for six different seasons. After his very successful NFL career, he had turned to wrestling, although he was never a full-time wrestler. However, he did compete at WrestleMania and was able to defeat Bam Bam Bigelow! Competing at WrestleMania is pretty equal to being in the Super Bowl in the NFL, which shows how big of a deal Taylor was when he joined even though he wasn’t a full-time wrestler. According to online sportsbooks LT’s former team, the New York Giants, are the one of the longest shots to win the Super Bowl this as they’re at 400/1.

Brian Pillman

Brian Pillman’s NFL career was very short-lived. He had gone undrafted after playing college football at Miami University of Ohio but later joined the Cincinnati Bengals. However, he was only on the team for one season before being cut and had only made appearances in six games throughout his career. In those games, he did not record a single tackle or sack. After being cut by the Bengals, he spent some time with the Buffalo Bills but was eventually cut once again. He then began training to become a professional wrestler. Once he made it into the WCW, he had created an alliance with Steve Austin to form a duo that was named The Hollywood Blonds and had become one of sports most popular duos.

William Perry

William Perry was a terrific defensive lineman throughout his entire 12-year NFL career. He had played nine seasons with the Chicago Bears and two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, with one season where he changed teams’ mid-season. Throughout his career, he played in 138 games and was able to record 29.5 sacks and 524 total tackles. He was also put in on offense at the goal line and was able to score a few touchdowns himself! After his career ended, the former Super Bowl champion had participated in a Battle Royal at WrestleMania II which included many other former NFL stars. In that event, Perry was eventually eliminated by Big John Studd, with Andre the Giant winning that event.

Monty Brown

Monty Brown had played linebacker in the NFL for each of his four seasons. He had spent three seasons with the Buffalo Bills and spent one with New England, during those years in the NFL he was able to play in Super Bowl XXVII. He was only able to play in 43 career games but during that span he raked up 106 total tackles but with no sacks or interceptions. After his NFL career, he became a professional wrestler over a decade later. Brown had wrestled on the WWE and in the ECW. He had gone by the nickname of “Alpha Male” and had been an incredible promo man. He had great charisma which translated to his wrestling career and helped him become more and more popular.

Ernie Ladd

Ernie Ladd spent time with multiple different teams during his 9-year career as a defensive tackle. He spent time with the San Diego Chargers, Houston Oilers and Kansas City Chiefs. Throughout all of those different stops, he played in 112 games. He was named to four Pro Bowls and was named First Team All-Pro three times. He also was able to win a Super Bowl title back in 1963. But during each offseason, he wrestled in his spare time and had a passion for the sport throughout his career. After his NFL retirement, he became a full-time wrestler. He ended up becoming very popular in Vincent McMahon’s Worldwide Wrestling Federation. Because of that, he ended up being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame back in 1995.

Wahoo McDaniel

Drafted back in 1960, Wahoo McDaniel played nine seasons and had played for four different teams. Those teams were the Houston Oilers, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. He played in 105 games and through that time he had recorded 13 interceptions from his linebacker position. Shockingly enough, he had also played the Punter position for a few years where he played well. After his career, he ended up going into the wrestling field, where he was eventually announced into the WCW Hall of Fame.

Leon White

Leon White was a highly coveted Center coming out of college and was selected in the third round of the 1978 draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He was on the injured reserve list early on in his career but ended up playing in Super Bowl XIV during his second season. Unfortunately, White was forced to retire early due to a ruptured patella tendon. After his retirement, he had gone into the wrestling business, where he was able to get the nickname Vader. Vader was a WWE legend, and many have been shocked that he never received an induction into the Hall of Fame.

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