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7 Raiders who’ve crossed over into Hollywood

Think acting and football don’t go hand in hand?

Keep an eye on Joe Burrow while he acts like he wants to play football in Cincinnati.

For the first time ever, the year’s biggest entertainment spectacles — the Super Bowl and the Oscars — have staked out consecutive Sundays.

It’s also the first time Las Vegas officially has had the Raiders for either of them.

To celebrate this convergence, as well as the team’s rich 60-year history, here’s a look at how some former Raiders have fared in Hollywood:

Best actor: Carl Weathers

Weathers made a far bigger name for himself in Hollywood than the NFL, where he played just eight games, all of them with the Raiders. As an actor, though, he’s shown his range with roles as varied as Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” franchise, alligator-hating golfer Chubbs Peterson in “Happy Gilmore,” bounty agent Greef Karga in “The Mandalorian” and his biggest stretch: cheapskate acting coach Carl Weathers in “Arrested Development.”

Carl Weathers appears in a scene from "The Mandalorian." (Melinda Sue Gordon/Lucasfilm)
Carl Weathers appears in a scene from "The Mandalorian." (Melinda Sue Gordon/Lucasfilm)

Best supporting actor: Howie Long

It isn’t so much that the Hall of Famer, who spent the entirety of his 13-season career with the Raiders, is a terrific thespian — although he was pretty good in those old Radio Shack commercials with Teri Hatcher. It’s that he was so much better in a supporting role as John Travolta’s main goon in the stolen-nuke thriller “Broken Arrow” than he was in his only leading role, battling escaped convicts and a wildfire, in 1998’s “Firestorm.”

Actor Mel Gibson is lifted across the shoulders of Los Angeles Raiders defense lineman Howie Lo ...
Actor Mel Gibson is lifted across the shoulders of Los Angeles Raiders defense lineman Howie Long on the set of "Lethal Weapon" in Los Angeles, Ca., Sept. 23, 1986. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Best career: Fred Williamson

It’s hard to imagine anyone having a better time than the man nicknamed “The Hammer.” A Raider for four seasons, Williamson retired in 1967 and spent the next decade as one of the biggest names in blaxploitation movies thanks to films such as “Black Caesar” and “Hell Up in Harlem.” He was in the TV version of “Star Trek” and the movie version of “MASH.” His production company — founded in the mid-1970s to utilize his skills as an actor, writer and director — has cranked out more than 20 movies, including ones co-starring other blaxploitation legends such as Pam Grier, Richard Roundtree and fellow NFL alum Jim Brown. Williamson beat the Raiders to Las Vegas in 2007 as the driving force behind the movie “Vegas Vampires.”

Fred Williamson in "Hell Up in Harlem." (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios)
Fred Williamson in "Hell Up in Harlem." (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios)

Best taste: Nnamdi Asomugha

The shutdown cornerback and first-round pick was a Raider from 2003 to ’10. Since retiring after the 2013 season, he’s starred in and produced “Crown Heights,” the winner of the audience award at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. He executive-produced Netflix’s acclaimed “Beasts of No Nation” and “Harriet,” whose star Cynthia Erivo is nominated for best actress at this year’s Oscars. He’s starring on Broadway alongside Blair Underwood and David Alan Grier in “A Soldier’s Play.” Perhaps the best arbiter of his taste: Asomugha has been married to Kerry Washington since 2013.

Nnamdi Asomugha, left, and Kerry Washington pose in the audience at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awa ...
Nnamdi Asomugha, left, and Kerry Washington pose in the audience at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Alex Berliner/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

Best performance buried beneath prosthetics: John Matuszak

Upon retiring in 1981 after six seasons with the Raiders, Matuszak became a staple of 1980s television, with appearances on shows including “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Miami Vice” and “The A-Team.” His distinctive look was perfect for bikers or outlaws, but his most famous role — the disfigured, Baby Ruth-loving Sloth in “The Goonies” — rendered him virtually unrecognizable.

John Matuszak in "The Goonies." (Warner Bros.)
John Matuszak in "The Goonies." (Warner Bros.)

Best actor in a movie everyone claims to hate but was still popular enough to spawn six sequels, a cartoon and a live-action TV series: Bubba Smith

The top overall pick in the 1967 draft, Smith spent the 1973-74 seasons with the Raiders. His prolific acting career dates back to that first year in Oakland with an appearance playing himself on “The Odd Couple.” The popular Miller Lite pitchman is best remembered by movie fans, though, as Moses Hightower, the gentle giant and former florist in the “Police Academy” franchise.

From left, Bubba Smith, Steve Guttenberg and Kim Cattrall star in "Police Academy." (Warner Bros.)
From left, Bubba Smith, Steve Guttenberg and Kim Cattrall star in "Police Academy." (Warner Bros.)

Best actor who’s worked almost exclusively in Adam Sandler projects: Bill Romanowski

The linebacker spent 16 seasons in the league, the final two with the Raiders in 2002-03. Of Romanowski’s eight acting credits listed on IMDb, five — “Blended,” “Jack and Jill,” “Bedtime Stories,” “The Benchwarmers” and “The Longest Yard” — starred or were produced by the “Saturday Night Live” alum.

Former Denver Broncos Bill Romanowski, left, Steve Atwater and Julie Romanowski talk prior to a ...
Former Denver Broncos Bill Romanowski, left, Steve Atwater and Julie Romanowski talk prior to an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow@life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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