According to the former WWE Champion, he competed in San Antonio, Texas, as part of the World League of American Football. His time on the gridiron was cut short due to a string of injuries he sustained.
In a recent interview with Lucha Libre Online, JBL said that he's always been a wrestling fan, and when he was done with football, he decided to pursue a career in the squared circle.
"Jason Garrett was our quarterback, who ended up being the coach of the Dallas Cowboys," said JBL. "And I got cut my second year. I like to think it's because of injuries, maybe because of the lack of talent, but I had a lot of injuries. And I met someone who'd wrestled in Japan. And I thought man, I've always been a wrestling fan." (1:39)
He added that he wanted to play football for a few years, and wrestling was his other option:
"One of my youngest memories is watching wrestling with my grandfather in Sweetwater, Texas," he recalled. "And so I'd always wanted to be a wrestler. I was just kind of hoping I'd play football for eight or ten years, and when that didn't work out, I thought I've got a chance now to do something that I wanted to do since I was a kid, and hopefully will be young enough that I can make a living at it. So that's when I started looking into getting into wrestling." (1:57)
JBL on the evolution of professional wrestling and being part of different eras in WWE
JBL competed in the Attitude Era as "Bradshaw" before later becoming John "Bradshaw" Layfield. He was also a star in the Ruthless Aggression Era. He spent the majority of the PG-Era as a commentator after his retirement from in-ring competition.
When asked his thoughts on the evolution of wrestling, Layfield stated that he loves the way the business has evolved. However, he named the Attitude Era as his favorite period in WWE.
"We had one of the greatest rosters of all time that became that roster that did ratings that I don't think will ever be equaled," said JBL. "And so that was a really cool time to be there. (...) It's just every era, you have to change and you always have to be a step ahead. And I think that's what we're seeing in the wrestling business. And I frankly, have loved every era. You know, to me, the Attitude Era was the favorite, but that's the first time I really got to be part of something. So to me, I'm biased."(17:34)
JBL was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2020; the class was officially recognized in 2021. He's arguably one of the greatest heels in WWE history.