If one thinks about the intersection between the NFL and Broadway, they are likely thinking about Joe Namath and the flamboyant persona he called Broadway Joe. However, another big name in the NFL is taking this crossroad even further.
For years, Eddie George ran down the field as a member of the NFL family. Now, he’s on stage under the spotlight, entertaining a different sort of crowd.
Eddie George takes the field
When Eddie George came into the NFL as a member of the Houston Oilers, he did so as one of the top prospects in the 1996 Draft. After a wildly successful career at Ohio State, the running back was on track to become one of the biggest stars in the NFL after making the gigantic leap.
He wasted no time showing his value. As a rookie with the Houston Oilers, George rush for nearly 1,400 yards and eight touchdowns. It was the following year, however, that showed him to the bigger audience.
In 1997, the Oilers moved to Tennessee and rebranded as the Titans. That same year, George showed that his strong rookie season wasn’t a fluke. He put up similar numbers and secured his spot on the Pro Bowl team.
For two years after, he continued this trend as one of the late Steve McNair and company’s primary options on offense. It was his 2000 season that truly put George on the map, however.
Highs and lows
George’s fifth year, the 1999 season, was legendary. Not only did he rush for 1,509 yards, but he ran into the end-zone 14 times, too.
By no coincidence, that was the same year that the Titans were within inches of a Super Bowl victory when wide receiver Kevin Dyson was tackled one-yard short of the winning Super Bowl. It was a fantastic defensive play by Rams linebacker Mike Jones that robbed George of the ultimate goal.
George remained a star, but his productivity went down soon after the Super Bowl appearance, and he never received a Pro Bowl invite or an All-Pro inclusion again In 2003, after eight years with the Titans organization, George signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys before calling it quits for good. He retired with over 10,000 rushing yards and 68 touchdowns.
Eddie George’s second-wind
George has been busy in retirement. Not only has he worked with several organizations across the United States to promote healthy living and exercise, but he also received his MBA to kickstart his career in business.
More recently, however, George is trying his hand at an acting career. Acting and the NFL aren’t a strange combination. After all, Jim Brown had a longer movie career than he did an NFL career. George tried a different medium, however.
For his part, George has acted on-screen since he first retired. However, his roles were typically self-portrayals in television series such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s HBO show Ballers, per IMDb. Recently, George has branched out, appearing in NCIS and Magnum PI in roles that allowed him to stretch himself further than his NFL image.
In 2016, George made his Broadway debut in a production of the hit play Chicago. George wasn’t playing a tough guy athlete in the play, but a singing, dancing Lawyer in the role of Billy Flynn — a role which movie fans may know as Richard Gere’s role in the film adaptation. George always wanted to stretch himself beyond football, and Broadway gave him that opportunity.
“You’re stretching yourself, you’re stretching your faith, you’re stretching your talent, and you’re pushing through a point of non-belief to get you to believe that if you put your mind to it and the work into it, you can get it done,” George told Forbes about his latest career move. “And people will resonate with it.”
George’s Broadway career is still young, but he has the talent and the dedication to find a second wind in more significant roles, even as he approaches 50. While most might know him as a superstar running back, perhaps a future generation will remember him for his stage work, too.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference