The National Football League’s (NFL’s) popularity has grown so much over the years that it practically dominates Sunday television across the U.S. It’s a sport where fans gather as an event to cheer on their favorite teams and watch incredible action as they go head-to-head on the field. It doesn’t matter if it’s during the regular season, playoffs, or Super Bowl – every game is a grand battle.
Our previous article entitled, “The Four Best NFL Players of All Time” identified the best of the best over the years pointing out their awards and rings. Today’s NFL stars are huge celebrities, with personas that live long beyond the end of their playing career. One player looking to stay in the game after finishing playing is Calais Campbell, who currently plays the defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens. The 35-year-old Campbell will play his 15th season to pursue the most sought after prize in football, the Super Bowl ring.
After the NFL, the football player is targeting premier poker events, such as the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Unlike baseball, this is a true World series, with players from across the globe flocking to Las Vegas for the event. The Main Event of the WSOP is the $10,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold’em tournament, which Campbell plans to compete in every year. From this, it’s obvious that he is a serious player willing to put up some serious money.
Campbell isn’t the only NFL star to play poker. There are a few more NFL stars that seek to make a name for themselves on the felt, and here they are:
1. Miles Austin
Miles Austin played for the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, and Dallas Cowboy from 2006-15. He had a very successful career ending with two Pro Bowls, 5,273 yards and 37 touchdowns. Outside of football, Austin is a regular at poker tables and made it to Day 3 of the World Poker Tour (WPT) World Championship in 2014. While playing football in Dallas, he helped organize charity poker tournaments and even served as a dealer during the event.
2. Emmitt Smith
Emmitt Smith is a Dallas Cowboys legend and in 2002, he became the all-time leading rusher in NFL history. He is a three-time Super Bowl champion and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 2004, he ended his football career with 18,355 yards rushing. Smith is very active in the poker world and has even represented Full Tilt Poker at a selection of live events including the National Heads-Up Poker Championship. He wanted to experience some high level poker competition so he tested his skills out by joining the WSOP in July 2010. Unfortunately, he was eliminated when his set of tens lost to a set of jacks.
3. Sammy Watkins
Sammy Watkins is a Super Bowl champion and has played for the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, Baltimore Ravens and is currently playing for the Green Bay Packers. He has had a very good career so far, with 5,059 yards and 34 touchdowns. When he is not on the field, he is often on the felt. In fact, he enjoys poker so much that he got in trouble when he chose to play poker over his football practice. In 2016, when Watkins was playing for the Buffalo Bills, he skipped practice to play poker with buddies in North Carolina. He almost got away with it, until he bragged about his winning on social media, which caught the attention of the Bills’ management team. He probably had to pay some fines, but hopefully his winnings covered it.
Sports stars reach the ultimate highs in their profession, but they don’t stop there. These NFL stars go “all-in” on the field and on the felt. May they inspire us to try our luck out and go all-in as well – not just on the felt, but also in our work and in our hobbies.