Prior to being a part of WWE, he attended Springfield College in Massachusetts. There, he played college football for the Springfield College football team. He was the NCAA Division III All-American center and wore the No. 54.
When he graduated college, he stopped playing football, as he switched to alternate careers.
He was one of many football players who later became WWE Superstars. Jim Duggan, Brock Lesnar, Bill Goldberg, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and many other wrestlers also played football at one point in their careers.
Why did John Cena give up football?
John Cena was a football player at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. When he graduated, he gave up on football. According to John Cena, he gave up football because he felt that it was not a good fit for him and that he was too small to make a career out of it.
Despite leaving, he maintained a fondness for the sport and the No. 54 remained with him. Many of his WWE t-shirts later had a No. 54 on them as a reference to his football playing days.
Although he gave up football, he would continue to work on his physique.
What did John Cena do after leaving football?
After John Cena graduated from college with a degree in exercise physiology, he moved to Venice Beach in California. There, he planned to have a career in bodybuilding.
However, since he was just starting out, he needed a job to keep himself going. He drove a limousine at one point in time, which was ironic given how he would help Cryme Tyme spray paint JBL's limousine later in his WWE career.
He also worked at Gold's gym. In the end, his job at Gold's gym saw him feature in a commercial.
The commercial was crucial as it helped him to get into the professional wrestling world. His friend convinced him to go to wrestling school and from there, he started his wrestling career in Ultimate Pro Wrestling, and later, WWE.