THE DAILY BEAST -- Before his big breakthrough in “Rocky,” Weathers was a bit actor in blaxploitation films and TV series. And before that, the 6-foot-2 bruiser was a football stud, first for San Diego State and then for NFL’s Oakland Raiders, playing eight games at linebacker between 1970 and 1971.
“I was on the Raiders with John Madden and a whole group of wonderful athletes. I was a kid, man. It was heady, it was unbelievable, it was exciting — scary sometimes,” he recalls. “It was my first year out of college, and it wasn’t an easy transition. One day you’re an amateur, the next day you’re a professional. So you’re trying to manage a career, manage a personal life, manage the transition from not having money to having it and from immaturity to adulthood. Every day is like, whoa.”
He played in the Canadian Football League for two years while finishing up his studies in the offseason at SF State. He graduated with a B.A. in Drama in 1974, quit football and tried his hand at acting.