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10 Famous People You Didn’t Know Were Athletes

Sports
10 Famous People You Didn’t Know Were Athletes

It is very difficult to believe anyone is truly a one trick pony. Everyone on this earth has many different skills and talents. Famous people are no different. Whether they are musicians, politicians, actors or athletes, they all have more than one skill they are good at.

Bernie Williams retired from professional baseball and now is the guitarist for a popular jazz band. Former San Diego Padres’ infielder Tim Flannery is in a successful bluegrass band and has even performed with Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. Lynn Swann and Steve Largent both hung up their football cleats and were elected to congress. Michael Jordan starred with Bugs Bunny in the movie Space Jam. This all points to the fact that nobody has just one talent.

What about the other famous figures? What about the big name celebrities that either fell short of or chose to pursue other interests instead of playing sports? There are many fine politicians, musicians, and actors who played sports at one time in their life. This list shows a few of those people, ranked by how much fame they have accrued. The one rule is that these people must not have achieved their fame through athletics. They must have achieved their success in some other fashion, but at some point in their lives had been a passionate and successful athlete at any level of play.

10. Dean Cain – NFL

Dean Cain

Dean Cain is Superman. However, his NFL career was not so super.  After graduating from Princeton in 1988, Cain was signed by the Buffalo Bills. His professional sporting career was cut short by a major knee injury during his first training camp with the team. Starting in the early 1990s, he became the star of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The show was watched by millions until its conclusion in 1997. Following his role as Superman, Cain became the host of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

9. Vinnie Jones – Soccer

Vinnie Jones

Many of you probably do not recognize the name, but you undoubtedly know the face. Vinnie Jones is an English actor who has starred in movies such as Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Gone in 60 Seconds. He is most famous for his role as Juggernaut in X-Men United. However, before he started appearing on screen with Nicholas Cage and Gene Hackman, Jones was a successful soccer player. Just like his movie roles, Jones was used by Chelsea, Leeds United, and Sheffield United as the teams’ intimidator. He is actually the only member of the list to have set a record at the professional level of play. Vinnie Jones was once ejected in the first three seconds of a match, the quickest ejection ever, for tightly squeezing an opposing player’s genitals. Jones’ pain-inflicting move was done in an attempt to strike fear in his opponent’s hearts.

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8. Phil Robertson – College Football

TV Duck Dynasty

Phil Robertson is the patriarch of America’s first family of rednecks. Robertson found the multi-million dollar company Duck Commander in 1972. He went from building duck calls in his backyard to becoming one of the most beloved characters on A&E’s Duck Dynasty. Before selling duck calls was a thought, Robertson was the starting quarterback for Louisiana Tech. He was considered a top prospect for the NFL, but decided he would rather devote his time to his true passion, hunting. To illustrate just how good he was: Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw was his backup.

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7. Dwayne Johnson – College Football

Dwayne Johnson

Nicknamed “The Rock”, Dwayne Johnson became famous as a wrestler in the WWE. He later would transition from the ring into Hollywood with his roles in The Mummy and The Scorpion King. Since then he has had numerous roles in many different movies. Originally an action star, Johnson has also appeared in a number of comedy roles. His heart was set on a very different goal in 1991. He received a full scholarship to play defensive tackle for the Miami Hurricanes and is a member of the 1991 national championship team. Unfortunately, the top prospect suffered a horrible injury and would be replaced by Hall of Famer Warren Sapp. Johnson would not see the field again.

6. Mark Harmon – College Football

Mark Harmon

NCIS’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs has leadership in his blood. Mark Harmon, who plays Gibbs on the most popular television show on the air today, is the son of a former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. In fact Mark’s father, Tom, was the first overall selection by the Chicago Bears in the 1941 draft. Declining the Bears’ offer, Tom decided to play for the New York Americans in the American Football League. Mark Harmon followed in his father’s football footsteps in college where he played the same position for UCLA. In 1973, Harmon was awarded the National Football Foundation’s Award for All-Around Excellence. He graduated and pursued a career in law before becoming an actor.

Mark Harmon 2

5. Burt Reynolds – College Football

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Burt Reynolds’ original life ambition was to be an All-American and professional football player. He received a full scholarship to Florida State as a running back. During his first game at Florida State he got injured and the injury was later worsened by a severe automotive accident. Following his college education, he began taking acting classes. Later Reynolds would return to the football field in the major motion picture, The Longest Yard.

4. George Clooney – College Baseball

Italy People

Before being voted Sexiest Man Alive and joining Hollywood’s elite, George Clooney was attempting to strike out batters on the baseball diamond. Clooney was a pitcher at Augusta High School in Kentucky. He then tried out for the Cincinnati Reds. He was not offered a contract with the club and was released from camp after the first cut downs. He then failed to graduate from college. It was from these low points that one of the biggest movie stars was born. After a few supporting roles, he broke through an achieved stardom as Dr. Doug Ross on the Emmy Award winning show ER.

3. Gerald Ford – College Football

gerald_r._ford__38th_us_president

Gerald Ford was the 40th president of the United States. He was also the vice president under Richard Nixon. Ford was the first person to obtain the vice presidency under the 25th Amendment which states that when a vice president resigns, the president can promote a member of congress to the position. Spiro Agnew resigned from the post in 1973, and Nixon chose Ford as his new vice president. When Nixon resigned from the presidency on August 9th1974, it would be Ford who would replace him. Before his political career, Ford played center and linebacker at the University of Michigan. While he was a member of the team, the school would finished undefeated and win national titles in both 1932 and 1933.

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2. Dwight D. Eisenhower – College Football

Dwight_D._Eisenhower,_official_photo_portrait,_May_29,_1959

Like President Ford, Dwight D. Eisenhower also played football in college before climbing to the most powerful political position in the United States. Eisenhower was a member of West Point’s varsity football team. He started every game for the team as both a running back and a linebacker. He even got to tackle legendary football star, Jim Thorpe. Following his college career, Eisenhower joined the military and became a five star general during World War II. In 1953, he would become the 34th president of the United States.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

1. Bob Marley – Soccer

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Up until this point, all the famous people on this list are really only known throughout the first world. Bob Marley is a worldwide figure. The reggae star’s legacy as a musician, humanitarian, and Rastafarian profit are celebrated on six different continents. If you were to ask a person who Gerald Ford was or who starred in Oceans 11, they would have no clue. However, if you sang “One love, one heart,” more than likely they could respond with “let’s get together and feel alright.” It was no secret Marley had a deep passion for soccer. He would bring a ball with him on every tour and start pickup games with anyone who wanted to play. Marley would specifically organize tours in the area where the World Cup was being held so he could watch the games. Since he grew up in extreme poverty, he was unable to play at the college level. He did play during grammar school and became a lifelong friend to soccer star Alan Cole. Cole and prominent English soccer broadcaster both firmly believed Bob could have been a highly successful professional soccer player, but he refused to play on that level because of his love for music. Bob Marley tragically passed away from melanoma on May 11th of 1981 at the age of 36.

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