Tag Archives: Atlanta Falcons

WWE stars who played professional football

Most people aren’t aware, but many of today’s WWE stars once played professional football. There’s a long list of players who couldn’t make it into the NFL, but here’s a few surprise WWE stars who played professional football.

Bill Goldberg: This WWE star attended the University of Georgia where he played defensive tackle. Goldberg was drafted in the 11th round in the 1990 NFL Draft by the LA Rams and had a stint with the Atlanta Falcons from the 1992 season until 1994. After being cut by Atlanta, he was drafted in the expansion draft by the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately, he never played for Carolina due to injuries. After retiring, he ended up in WCW and after WCW shut down had a short stint in what is now the WWE.

The-Rock-DumbbellsDwayne “The Rock” Johnson: Probably the most famous name on this list is now A-list actor and former WWE wrestler Dwayne Johnson. He played college football at the University of Miami at defensive tackle. He was part of the 1991 National Championship Miami Hurricanes team. Although, he never made it the NFL, Johnson played in the CFL for the Calgary Stampeders. He was cut two seasons later. After, football he pursued his career in professional wrestling and any wrestling fan can tell you the rest is history.

Ron Simmons “Farooq”: Ron Simmons is in the Florida State University Hall of Fame as well as the WWE Hall of Fame. He played defensive tackle at FSU and was drafted in the sixth round of the 1981 draft by the Cleveland Browns. After he ended up in the USFL playing for the Tampa Bay Bandits. When his football career was over he went to join the WCW where he would become the first African-American World Champion. Later in his career he went on had success with the WWE and as mentioned earlier has been inducted into the WWE hall of fame.

Matt Ryan: Pro-files

Drafted from Boston College in 2008, Matt Ryan grew up athletically talented and a clutch performer in all of the sports that he played. He earned his nickname because of his cool demeanor under pressure.  His high-school teammate’s stated that it was as if he had ice-water pumping through his veins during sticky situations, they would eventually deem him “Matty-Ice.” The teenage nickname would become like glue and stick to Matt Ryan throughout his college and professional football career with the Atlanta Falcons.

After his rookie year ceased, it was ultra-obvious that Matt Ryan was an outstanding quarterback that barring injury, was going to only become better with time.  During his rookie campaign, he won The Rookie of the Week Award on three separate occasions, was named NFC Rookie of the Month, and was presented The Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.  Since his first day on the job in the NFL, he has lived up to his reputation by demonstrating ice-cold poise.  His first professional pass was a 62 yard long-bomb touchdown pass.  Since then, he has thrown 152 touchdowns for 23,412 yards.

Matt RyanRyan has been an exceptional draft decision; he has orchestrated 23 game winning drives, something only a guy with the nickname “Matty Ice” could accomplish. He has shattered numerous franchise and NFL records, and has really become a highly decorated professional quarterback.  His accomplishments have been phenomenal, and he did it all while staying ice-cold.

Matt Ryan obviously was blessed with God-given natural athletic abilities, but he was also born with a high amount of brain power, a hardcore competitive edge, an unmatched work ethic, and the unnatural ability to transform his blood into freezing cold ice water when pressure builds around him.  Matty-Ice is a supernatural creature that is tough as nails, and hard as a coffin nail.  Throughout his career, he has really taken some bone crunching, breath-taking collisions; just prior to throwing a mass yardage, in your face long bomb while recovering from it.  Matty-Ice always finds a way to keep it cool.

Two of the most memorable clutch Matty-Ice moments were during the Chicago Bears game in his rookie season, where he made the clutch pass to Michael Jenkins with merely 11 seconds on the clock while playing from behind at the start of the 4th quarter possession, and miraculously got it done; and the game versus the Baltimore Ravens in 2010, where The Atlanta Falcons had 65 seconds to drive 80 yards for a touchdown in order to win the game, and Matty-Ice turned into David Copperfield, stunning every single person witnessing the phenomenal Atlanta Falcon’s victory .  These were awesome games to attend.  The energy inside of the Georgia Dome on those clutch Matty-Ice situation games was indescribable. One could not even begin to attempt to try.

Matt Ryan is the guy you want leading a team.  His numerous competitive finishes speak in high decibels for him, and his ice cold ability to stun the football world has carried his teenage nickname with him throughout his career.  Matty-Ice is the Atlanta Falcon’s generational quarterback of the past, and as long as he can keep on pumping ice water through is veins, will continue his NFL domination for many years to come, his future is as bright as Antarctica ice.

Adam P. Beckett is a writer for The Penalty Flag, he can be contacted at Abeckett@Thepenaltyflagblog.com; or follow him on Twitter @Apb842.

Tony Gonzalez: Pro-files

Drafted 13th overall by the Kansas City Chiefs, Tony Gonzalez was determined to create a legacy like no other.

You see, the first time I heard of Tony Gonzalez he was playing in the NCAA March Madness Tournament against the California Bears. He then played for the North Carolina Tarheels.

Gonzalez was a big, athletic forward who could really get up and down the floor. I remember his great hands and the talk of him playing in the NFL. After that season he was eventually drafted by the Chiefs. I don’t remember a lot of hype about that particular draft except about Orlando Pace going 1st overall to the St. Louis Rams and the puzzling 26th pick of QB Jim Druckenmiller out of Virginia Tech to the 49ers.

Tony-GonzalezIn 1997 and 1998, Gonzalez had very respectable years playing TE for the Chiefs. It wasn’t until 1999, he turned into the Tony Gonzalez that quickly became a household name to Chiefs and NFL fans everywhere. He caught 11 TD passes earning his first Pro Bowl selection. From 2000 to 2006, Gonzalez dominated the TE position and was one of the best players in pro football averaging 79 receptions, 968 yards, and almost 7 TD’s a game. He was named to the Pro Bowl in each of these years. The Chiefs were in some lean years and Gonzalez longed for what every professional player does, a championship. He discussed his options with management and was traded to the Atlanta Falcons in search of his first Lombardi trophy.
By joining the Atlanta Falcons, in 2009, he would be paired with one of the games up and coming stars in QB Matt Ryan. During his time in Atlanta, Gonzalez would go on to set or break close to 20 NFL records as a TE.

In 2010, the Falcons finished the NFL regular season 13-3 and the first seed in the playoffs. The chance of earning that missing championship seemed promising, but the Falcons were defeated in their first playoff game by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Gonzalez flirted with retirement several times only to last until this past season where in his final game the Falcons were defeated by conference rival Carolina Panthers.

Tony Gonzalez finished his career as perhaps the greatest TE of all time in the NFL. He will however be included in the conversation with players such as Dan Marino and Jim Kelly, great players who never won a championship. Throughout his career, Gonzalez carried himself with dignity and grace. I never once read of misdeeds or wrongdoings off the field. His off the field career was highlighted with charity work and even saving a choking man’s life once. I enjoyed watching the games he played in and I hope that future NFL players will look to him as a role model on and off the field. Even though Tony Gonzalez never got that championship ring, he will always be a champion.