The announcement that sometime New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan has been tapped to replace Regis as Kelly Ripa's new co-host on ABC's long-running morning cupcake "Live with...!" came one day before Strahan's former team kicks off the NFL season tonight vs. the Dallas Cowboys.
Strahan is the latest, highest-profile case of a former NFL player successfully leveraging his charisma and persona to cross-over into mainstream non-football related stardom in movies or television.
Looking back, one of the most notable examples is Jim Brown:
Sometimes called the greatest player in NFL history, the Cleveland Brown fullback literally walked-away from the NFL at the peak of his career to pursue opportunities on the silver screen, parlaying supporting roles in films like The Dirty Dozen and Ice Station Zebra into Bad Mother Fucker lead roles in Blaxploitation films like Slaughter in the early 70's:
OJ Simpson (...more after the jump)
After setting all sorts of records on the field, in college and as a pro, and before dominating the news for two years in the tabloid trifecta perfect storm of a murder trial, OJ Simpson enjoyed a career as an actor, most notably as the comic foil to Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun films:
Much like Simpson, but without the scandal, the former Baltimore Colts defensive tackle found Hollywood success as the silly comedic foil Hightower in the Police Academy saga:
Arguably the most successful actor of the lot, 13-year veteran Giants defensive end Fred Dryer starred in the lead role on the long-running hit television program "Hunter":
The Hall of Famer wisely kept his day job on the dais at the FOX NFL Sunday pregame show after taking a shot as an action hero in what must have been pitched as "Die Hard in a wildfire."
The Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle starred as the eponymous character in the frontier era drama "Father Murphy" a kind-of "Little House on the Prairie" meets "Highway to Heaven" (in fact, to complete the trifecta, this show was produced by "LHOTP" and "H2H" star Michael Landon!)
Best known as Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies, in recent years Weathers has followed Bubba and OJ into comedy by flexing his funny bone and taking on more ironic roles like Happy Gilmore and the underrated The Sasquatch (Dumpling) Gang:
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