Legendary actor Carl Weathers died Thursday at the age of 76, his family announced.
Tributes have poured in from plenty in Hollywood, including his “Rocky” costar in the man who played Balboa himself, Sylvester Stallone.
But before Weathers hit it big as Apollo Creed and Chubbs Peterson, Weathers was a star football player, making it to the NFL.
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Weathers went undrafted out of San Diego State in 1970 but still managed to sign with the Oakland Raiders that year, making it to that season’s AFC Championship with John Madden as his head coach.
He was released the following seasons, playing in just eight NFL games, but he then played for the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions for 18 games from 1971 to 1973.
The Raiders and Lions both offered touching statements about their former player.
“The Raiders Family is mourning the loss of Carl Weathers, who passed away Thursday,” the team said. “Weathers played two seasons with the Silver and Black before embarking on a successful acting career that spanned five decades, famously depicting boxer Apollo Creed in the Rocky franchise among many other unforgettable roles. Always a proud Raider, Weathers will be missed dearly by his Raiders Family and his many fans worldwide. Our deepest condolences are with the Weathers family at this time.”
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“Our thoughts are with family & friends of Carl Weathers, former #BCLions Linebacker & beloved Rocky character, Apollo Creed. RIP, Legend,” the Lions wrote.
Former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III shared a video of Weathers’ acting highlights.
“There is no Rocky without Apollo Creed and we were lucky that Carl brought him to life. RIP to a legend,” RG3 said.
Kyle Brandt, a “Good Morning Football” host on the NFL Network, offered his thoughts.
“Very sad about the news of Carl Weathers passing. I’ve got no Apollo quote. No Predator GIF. I’m just damn sad,” said Brandt. “That man entertained us for 5 decades. He mattered. He’s missed.”
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Weathers most recently starred in all three seasons of “The Mandalorian” as Greef Karga, the leader of a bounty hunter guild. Other film credits include roles in “Friday Foster,” “Bucktown,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Death Hunt,” “The Comebacks” and “Toy Story 4.”
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.
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