Many pro wrestlers over the years have also been pro football players at some point in their lives. I will list the ones I knew about who that I found while doing research for this article.
Bronco Nagurski Hall of fame pro football player for the Chicago Bears. This big fullback was also a world heavyweight champion in wrestling. The only man to do both to my knowledge. He held the NWA world title on two occasions once beating the legendary Lou Thez.
Steve “Mongo” McMichael played for the Bears and also wrestled for a few years after his career was over.
“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan spent a season on the injured reserve with the Atlanta Falcons and may have played in the CFL as well.
Lex Luger played in the CFL, the USFL and the Green Bay Packers (one season)
Paul Orndorff tried out for the Chiefs and Saints as a fullback. Didn’t make either team but did play in the World Football League.
Ron Simmons (Faarooq) Was cut by the Cleveland Browns but played for Tampa Bay in the USFL.
Van Vader- Was on injured reserve for the Los Angeles Rams for one season but never played.
“Dr Death” Steve Williams played briefly in the USFL.
Bill Goldberg Played for the Falcons and Rams and possibly the Panthers.
Brian Pillman played for the Bengals.
Kevin Greene and Bill Fralic both dabbled in wrestling at times.
Ernie “Big Cat” Ladd- Possibly the 2nd best football player who wrestled, after Nagurski. Ladd played for the Chargers, Chiefs and Oilers in the AFL winning several AFL titles. He is in the Grambling University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Ed “Wahoo” McDaniel played linebacker for the Broncos, Oilers, Chargers, Dolphins, and the Jets. He was traded from the Dolphins to the Chargers in 68 after knocking out two police officers in a fist fight. Played college ball for Bud Wilkinson at the University of Oklahoma. He died in 2002.
Lawrence Taylor- Wrestled Bam Bam Bigelo at WrestleMania XI
Reggie White- Wrestled one match against Mongo McMichael and lost it.
Harvey Martin- Former Cowboy great participated in a football players vs wrestler battle royal at WrestleMania 2. Andre The Giant won the match.
Russ Francis also dabbled in wrestling. If I am not mistaken his father was a wrestling promoter and wrestler himself.
Danny Hodge was a CFL player, Olympic Silver Medalist amateur wrestler, a Golden Gloves boxer and a great pro wrestler in the 1950’s.
Monty Brown “Alpha Male” was a New England Patriot and Buffalo Bill before wrestling.
John “Bradshaw” Layfield played for the Raiders and in the World League.
Brock Lesnar tried and failed in pro football after winning the WWE world title.
Donald J Stansauk (HB Haggerty in wrestling) played for the Packers and Lions and also was an actor.
Dwayne Johnson “The Rock:” played one year in the CFL before starting his wrestling and acting career.
Jack Adkinson (Fritz Von Erich) played in the AFL and CFL before starting his wrestling career.
Frank Goodish (Bruiser or King Kong Brody) played pro football before wrestling. He should have stuck with football. He was stabbed to death by another wrestler in a dressing room.
Leo Nomellini was a NFL Hall of Fame member and pro wrestler.
John Heidenreich played for several NFL teams before joining the wrestling ranks. Also an accomplished Martial Artist.
Ahmed Johnson played for the Dallas Cowboys.
I hope you enjoyed my article ” Which pro wrestlers were pro football players” on Associatedcontent.com.