5 NFL players who have also been in the boxing ring

Tom Zbikowski of the Baltimore Ravens
Tom Zbikowski of the Baltimore Ravens

NFL and boxing have many characteristics in common: they both require immense strength, physicality and endurance. Since they share similar traits, there's a certain overlap at one point of time. NFL players, therefore, are a touch more inclined to try out boxing. While a number of them have stepped in the ring, not all of them have achieved success because the skillset still remains different. That said, it's worth admiring the cross-sport jump, isn't it?

NFL players who took up boxing

#1 - Tom Zbikowski

We start with Tom Zbikowski because he was involved in amateur boxing before coming into the NFL. He's the most accomplished boxer among this motley crew, having racked up a 75-15 amateur record.

In the NFL, he played for the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts as a defensive back. His passion for boxing rekindled during the 2011 lockout, following which he returned to the sport. Unlike others on this list who were heavyweights, Zbikowski was a cruiserweight fighter.

#2 - Ray Edwards

Ray Edwards was a defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons. As part of his early NFL training, he was introduced to boxing and developed a passion for it. At 6'5", he had good reach and competed well in the heavyweight category. He ended his boxing career with a knockout loss.

#3 - Alonzo Highsmith

Alonzo Highsmith was a running back for the Houston Oilers, Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After injuries shortened his NFL career, he turned to boxing and found moderate success there.

In a matchup between two former football players, he defeated Mark Gastineau, a former pass rusher for the New York Jets, who did not make this list since he did not play in the NFL exclusively, instead featuring in the CFL for the BC Lions.

#4 - Ed Jones

For most people, playing professional football would be a dream. Not for Ed Jones, though.

The first overall pick for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1974 NFL Draft always wanted to be a boxer. Despite three All-Pro selections as a defensive end, he curtailed his football career to take up boxing. It didn't work out too well and he eventually returned to the Cowboys.

#5 - Charlie Powell

Saving the best for last, aren't we?

Charlie Powell played in the NFL, boxed in the ring, and played minor league baseball simultaneously. He did all of it at a high level. While playing for the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders, he also competed against the likes of Muhammad Ali in the boxing ring.

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