Brian Bosworth, nicknamed "The Boz," is an American actor and former professional football player who served as a linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks in the National Football League (NFL). Prior to the NFL, he played for the University of Oklahoma, where he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American in 1985 and 1986.
Known for his radical hairstyles and criticism of the NCAA as much as his on-field play, Bosworth embraced publicity and controversy. On more than one occasion Bosworth referred to the NCAA as the "National Communists Against Athletes." He wore a T-shirt bearing that slogan during the 1987 Orange Bowl game following the 1986 season. Barred from playing in the game because of a positive steroid test, Bosworth unveiled the shirt while standing on the sidelines to the shock and outrage of many, including his own coach, Barry Switzer.
A strong-side inside linebacker throughout his college career, Bosworth was known for raising his level of play in big games. He was regarded as a great tackler. The winner of the first two Butkus Awards as the nation's top college linebacker, he remains the only player ever to have won the accolade more than once. College Football News ranked him No. 30 on its list of the "100 Greatest College Players of All-Time." In October 1999, Bosworth was named to the Sports Illustrated NCAA Football All-Century Team as one of only nine linebackers on the squad.
In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Bosworth was a good student, graduating a year early and thus becoming eligible for the NFL's supplemental draft.
Prior to his entry into the NFL supplemental draft, Bosworth had sent letters to various NFL teams stating that, if they drafted him, he wouldn't report to their training camp and he wouldn't play for them. As a joke, the Tacoma Stars of the Major Indoor Soccer League selected him in the 12th round in their 1987 draft, as their general manager stated, "Because we didn't receive a letter from him that he wouldn't play for us." Bosworth was interviewed on The Today Show by Bryant Gumbel shortly after word came out about the letters and declared his desire was to play for the Los Angeles Raiders above all else, saying he felt they fit his personality best.
Bosworth was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, one of the teams to whom he had sent a letter of uninterest, in the 1987 NFL supplemental draft. After initially declaring he would stick to his promise that he would not sign, he signed both the biggest contract in team history and the biggest rookie contract in NFL history at the time: ten years for $11 million.
He appeared in 12 games in his rookie season, playing well for the most part, but became known more for his outspoken personality and appearance than his actual play on the field. Before the first game of the season, versus the Denver Broncos, Bosworth trash talked Denver quarterback John Elway. 10,000 Denver fans wore $15 T-shirts reading "BAN THE BOZ", but did not know that Bosworth's company manufactured the shirts.
In September 1988, Bosworth co-authored a book with Sports Illustrated's Rick Reilly in 1988 entitled, "The Boz: Confessions of a Modern Anti-Hero."
Bosworth was forced to retire after only two seasons in 1989, having suffered a shoulder injury in the 1988 season. Team Doctor Pierce E. Scranton Jr. explained that "Brian was a twenty-five-year-old with the shoulders of a sixty-year-old. He flunked my physical."
Following the end of his football career, Bosworth decided to pursue a career as an actor. He starred in the 1991 action film Stone Cold and has had an on-again/off-again film career starring in several low budget titles such as One Man's Justice that went straight to DVD. In 2005, he had a role as one of the prison-guard football players in the Adam Sandler movie remake The Longest Yard. He also starred in Lawless, a television series for Fox.
In 2001, Bosworth joined the XFL as a color commentator for its television broadcasts. He was assigned to the crew which called games that aired Sunday nights on UPN, which consisted of Chris Marlowe on play-by-play and Chris Wragge and Michael Barkann as the sideline reporters.
Two years later, Bosworth was hired by Turner Sports as a college football studio analyst. Bosworth worked on TBS' Saturday night game coverage, contributing to pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage alongside studio host Ernie Johnson. He left the position after the 2003 season.
He has also appeared in Hell's Kitchen as a dining guest, and in commercials with various other former NFL players, including Matt Leinart, Heath Shuler and Bo Jackson.
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