Did burt reynolds play football ?Legendary actor Burt Reynolds died on Thursday at the age of 82. Reynolds was one of Hollywood’s top leading men in the 1970s, starring in hits such as “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Deliverance” and “The Longest Yard,” and later “Boogie Nights.”Reynolds will mostly be remembered for his contributions to film, though he also had a pretty significant impact on the sports world. After graduating from high school, Reynolds earned a football scholarship to Florida State University as a halfback.
In his first season with the Seminoles, Reynolds ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He also reeled in four catches for 76 yards. He had a promising future with the program, but he suffered a knee injury in the Seminoles’ first game of his sophomore season, then later that year suffered another knee injury and lost his spleen as a result of a car accident.
That stretch of bad luck kept him off the field for two years before a short-lived return. The injuries ultimately brought his football dreams crashing down, but it would turn into a blessing in disguise.
While attending Florida State, Reynolds roomed with one Lee Corso — the famed college football broadcaster who remains a staple of “College Gameday.” They remained friends long after they parted ways on campus.
As Reynolds’ acting career picked up steam, he managed to earn parts in some of Hollywood’s more famous sports movies — including the lead role of Paul Crewe in “The Longest Yard” in 1974, as well as a supporting role as Coach Nate Scarborough in the 2005 remake starring Adam Sandler.
Reynolds also played a starring role in the 1977 football movie “Semi-Tough,” which co-starred Kris Kristofferson. Additionally, he had roles in the 1993 baseball film “The Man from Left Field” and the 1999 hockey cult classic “Mystery, Alaska.”
His presence in sports wasn’t just felt on the silver screen, either. Reynolds continued to support Florida State after becoming a big-time Hollywood star and was often spotted on the sidelines or in the stands during gameday. He also supported the program financially, making donations to help buy uniforms and endow scholarships.
Burt Reynolds honored during Florida State’s Pillars of Champions ceremony
Bobby Bowden reckoned there has never been an actor in Hollywood who had more humility than Burt Reynolds.
“When he came around, he was like one of us,” Bowden said.
One of us, of course, was a Seminole.
Though Reynolds played only parts of two seasons (1954 and 1957) at Florida State before a knee injury ended his football career, his connection to the Seminoles remained genuine and strong. Reynolds went on to become an iconic movie star, director and sex symbol, but he always treasured his return trips to Tallahassee during football season.
Reynolds, who died last September at age 82, was honored Friday night in the Dunlap Champions Club at Doak Campbell Stadium. Seminole Boosters, Inc., held the fourth installment in its Pillars of Champions series with the pillar unveiling and ceremony recognizing Reynolds.
Special guests included Reynolds’ son Quinton Reynolds and his niece Nancy Lee Hess. The ceremony featured introductions from Gene Deckerhoff, a video of Reynolds, a heartfelt speech of thanks from Hess and, of course, Bowden’s witty storytelling. Reynolds, a running back, ran for 146 career yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns at FSU.
To him, FSU football and coach Bowden were as much a part of his life as his film career,” Hess told the crowd. “If he couldn’t be here in Tallahassee for his game, I can assure every TV in his home was turned to the Seminole game. We all know what home means to each of us. Home is a place where you feel comfort, love and respect for who you are. This is why FSU meant so much to him. This is how he felt when he was here.
“It was his home.”
Bowden, the Seminoles’ legendary football coach who retired following the 2009 season, told the group how Reynolds stopped by his office on Fridays when he was in town for games. Bowden shut the door and said the pair told stories and “laughed and laughed and laughed. I really enjoyed that,’ Bowden said.
Bowden, with tongue in cheek, explained how Reynolds went on a recruiting trip with him to Ohio back when alumni were permitted to do so. “How can I get a better (recruiter) than Burt Reynolds?” Bowden said. “That would open some eyes.” Bowden explained the prospective recruit lived with his mother and didn’t have a father.
“While I am sitting there recruiting that boy, Burt is talking to the momma. … you understand,” Bowden said as the crowd laughed. “Then we went out for supper. Back in those days you could take them out for supper. We go out to supper and have a good visit, momma and Burt, me and the boy. While the boy and I were talking football, Burt was out there dancing with the momma.”
Bowden, saying he wanted to make a long story short, told the crowd that FSU didn’t land the recruit. He went to Notre Dame.
Famed actor Burt Reynolds had many football, sports connections
Burt Reynolds will mostly be remembered as a famous, successful actor, but his career in the spotlight began in a role he later portrayed on screen – as a football star.
Reynolds, who died Thursday at the age of 82, was a highly recruited running back in high school and earned a scholarship to Florida State, where he roomed with future coach and broadcaster Lee Corso.
He had to give up football after suffering a knee injury early in his sophomore season, but that opened the door for him to pursue acting.
His love of sports continued as he went on to star in two football-themed movies: The Longest Yard in 1974 and Semi-Tough in 1977.
In The Longest Yard, Reynolds was cast in the role of a former NFL player who goes to prison and ends up recruiting a group of inmates to play a showdown game against their guards. He played a coach in the Adam Sandler remake of that movie in 2005.
Semi-Tough, based on a novel by legendary sportswriter Dan Jenkins, featured Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson as pro football players who get caught in a love triangle with the team owner’s daughter.
Perhaps his most famous movie role — as the main character in Smokey and the Bandit — was the inspiration for the nickname of the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits, of which Reynolds was a minority owner.
He also was part owner of a NASCAR Winston Cup team, whose No. 33 Skoal Bandit car was driven by Harry Gant and was sponsored by the smokeless tobacco company.
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