5 NFL players who became successful politicians after retirement 

NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson and NFL's Heath Shuler
NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson and NFL's Heath Shuler

The average age of retirement for NFL players is currently around 27 years old. This is a very young age compared to other professions as the average age of retirement across the country is 62, when factoring in all career choices.

With most players retiring from the NFL before hitting their 30s, they pretty much have their whole lives in front of them. This opens the door for many different opportunities as former players often pursue other career paths when they are done playing professional football.

While many former players remain in the world of football, turning to coaching and broadcasting, others decide to go a completely different route. Politics has been an option for former players who use their fame and resources to become successful in that field.

Here are five retired NFL players who became successful politicians.

#1 Jon Runyan

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns

Jon Runyan was one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL during his 14-year career. He is also one of the best players in Philadelphia Eagles history and is honored in their Hall of Fame.

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When Runyan retired following the 2009 NFL season, he almost immediately entered the world of politics. He was elected to the House of Representatives for New Jersey in 2010 and was re-elected for a second term in 2012. He was projected to be re-elected again in 2014, but chose to withdraw from the running.

#2 Jack Kemp

Former United States Politician Jack Kemp
Former United States Politician Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp put together a great career as a quarterback, mostly with the Buffalo Bills. Among his many accomplishments was winning two AFL Championships prior to its official merger with the NFL and winning the Super Bowl in 1969. He was named the MVP in both AFL Championship games.

While his football career was successful, his career in politics was probably even more impressive. He held several high-ranking roles, including being elected to the House of Representatives in New York.

Kemp most notably served in the cabinet of President George H.W. Bush as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He was once considered a candidate to become the Presidentand was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barrack Obama. Sadly, he passed away in 2009.

#3 Alan Page

Former Minnesota Vikings DT Alan Page
Former Minnesota Vikings DT Alan Page

Alan Page is one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. He is one of only two defensive players, along with Lawrence Taylor, to win the NFL MVP award. Page was also named Defensive Player of the Year twice on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was the legendary centerpiece of the infamous "Purple People Eaters" defense of the Minnesota Vikings.

Adding to his legendary story, Page attended law school while playing for the Vikings and worked at a law firm during the offseason.

He was named the Assistant Attorney General of Minnesota following his retirement before being elected as an associate justice in the Minnesota Supreme Court. He served there for 18 years before retiring.

#4 Heath Shuler

Heath Shuler in action for the Washington Redskins
Heath Shuler in action for the Washington Redskins

After an outstanding college football career, Heath Shuler was selected with the third overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins (now Commanders). He spent three years with the team before being traded to the New Orleans Saints, where multiple foot injuries derailed his career. He retired after just five seasons.

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Ten years after his retirement from football, Shuler was elected to the House of Representatives for North Carolina and took office in 2007. He was re-elected twice more in 2008 and 2010 before announcing that he would withdraw from the 2012 election, ending his term.

#5 Steve Largent

Seattle Seahawks Steve Largent and Paul Allen
Seattle Seahawks Steve Largent and Paul Allen

Steve Largent spent 14 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, where he set many franchise receiving records. He is considered one of the greatest wide receivers of his generation and was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Following his retirement from football, Largent entered the world of politics. He was elected to Congress in Oklahoma in 1994 and was re-elected three times, serving eight years. He then ran for Governor of Oklahoma in 2002 but lost a close election.

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Edited by John Maxwell
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