A look at Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s NFL and football career

Known for his larger-than-life personality in the wrestling ring and a star on the big screen, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also tried his hand at football early in life. Let’s take a look back at Dwayne Johnson’s football career and if The Rock ever made it to the NFL.

Where did Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson play football?

Dwayne Johnson’s life as a kid has been fairly well documented. Hailing from Hawaii, Johnson had no issue getting into scraps and was tested often due to his lineage. When your father and grandfather are wrestlers, others are quick to test your skills. But this also meant Johnson inherited the size most didn’t at the time. Johnson did not play football until high school when he was attending Freedom High in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 

He credits this desire to play due to a bathroom run-in with teacher/coach Jody Cwik. Johnson was an imposing figure. By the time he was a junior in high school, The Rock stood at 6’4″ and 230 pounds. Realizing it could be his way to higher education, Johnson took his opportunity seriously and attacked it with the same ferocity he has become known for in his other endeavors. 

Johnson received offers from Penn State, UCLA, Clemson, Florida State, and dozens of other top programs. Eventually, he reached out to the University of Miami and accepted a full-ride scholarship to play at “The U.”

An injury to Johnson’s shoulder changed his future

If you know your college football history, you know how incredible the 1991 Miami Hurricanes team was. They are widely considered the greatest college team of all time. Despite being surrounded by blue-chip prospects, Johnson would be the only true freshman on the team. Current LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, who coached the defensive line at Miami from 1988-1992, said that he felt Johnson “had a chance to be an All-American.”

Unfortunately, those dreams were abruptly cut short. During the final round of two-a-days, Johnson tore his shoulder. The Miami coaching staff decided to convert a relatively larger but nimble tight end to defensive end. His name, Warren Sapp. Perhaps you heard of him. 

It was simply bad timing for Johnson that he went to the same school as one of the greatest defensive linemen of all time. From that point on, Johnson was a substitute-level player for the Hurricanes. 

Johnson played for Miami all four years (1991-1995), appearing in 39 games with one start. He recorded 77 tackles and 4.25 sacks.

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Did Dwayne Johnson get drafted in the NFL?

Any dreams or aspirations towards an NFL future for The Rock were dashed due to the presence of Sapp. Unable to see any considerable playing time, Johnson went undrafted.

After graduating with a Bachelor’s of General Studies in criminology and physiology in 1995, he signed with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL) as a linebacker.

Johnson was assigned to the practice roster but was cut two months into the season as he struggled with injuries. That was the closest Johnson ever got to the NFL.

Shortly after that, Johnson realized he needed to make a change. And well, The Rock was born, and the rest is history.

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Tommy Garrett is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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