Terry Crews is a high-profile NFL player and one of the best defensive linemen in the league. He’s also a very talented artist. He got his start in performing arts after high school, when he joined the LA troupe of the Groundlings comedy troupe. After he joined the NFL, he decided to put his artistic talents to use and paint portraits of his NFL teammates. We dug up a few of them and put them together in a gallery.

In May of 2016, Terry Crews was the victim of a sexual assault at the hands of a Hollywood executive. His name has not been mentioned in any of the national news stories, and instead his alleged abuser has been getting all the attention. In the months that followed Crews would be applauded for his courage and perseverance, as he used the incident as motivation to not only fight back, but to also come out with a strong message.

Terry Crews is certainly better known for his acting career than his NFL career. But perhaps the most impressive of his talents is his side hobby during his football career. After spending most of his career on the practice squad and on the bench, Crews shortened his time by getting creative and making money to live on minimum wage in the league.

According to IMDb, Crews was born in Flint, Michigan. He grew up there in a city known for its lack of government support during hard times. From a young age, Crews showed an interest in sports and art.

According to Crews, this passion for the arts led him to a career in professional football. Although he is not known as an artist or cartoonist, this shows why a career in the entertainment industry became his main goal. After all, the football that put him in the spotlight is just a detail for the cast of Expendables and Expendables . In fact, his first job was not playing or working with the offense, but drawing. He spoke about it with Jimmy Kimmel, reports ArtNet.

My first job in show business was drawing sketches for the worst murder case in Flint history, Michigan_….. I had an art show for a football show, he said. But football was a more lucrative option. Crews went to Western Michigan University so he could play football and still have time for art.

Crews meets NFL

Terry Crews, former NFL player, in 2011 | Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

A look at his Pro Football Reference shows that Crews has rarely appeared on the field. He played in 32 games from 1991 to 1996. In the 1995 season at Washington, he played in all 16 games, although he was only on the bench. Crews was a journeyman who needed to stay in shape because of his defensive abilities, but he was often taken out of the game. So he decided to use his downtown to improve the art he loved so much.

He thinks back to the time when, as a rent-a-cop, he played for six football teams for seven years. Crews told Kimmel:

That’s how I survived. I was always at the bottom of the list. I was never a superstar. I was in 11th grade. Round of the draft pick. Humility will help you go far. You need to make money, you need to be humble….. I literally made a painting in two months and they gave me $5,000 and I survived that, my whole family survived that.

Art and sports are not the first things we associate with him. But Crews’ story shows that the connection is not limited to him.

The Art of Athletes

Crews isn’t the only one fascinated by the art. Former NBA slam dunk champion Desmond Mason has had a successful career as an abstract artist since quitting the NBA in 2010. Everyone from Serena Williams to retired NFL star Larry Johnson likes to relax by adding a little color to the canvas. Celebrities like Usain Bolt and Tyson Chandler also use their cameras to create successful works of art.

Athletes, like everyone else, need time to relax, and art is one of the oldest ways people have used to do this. Crews is a man of many talents, but the one he masters best may be the most overlooked. It’s easy to think of athletes as people you see on the field or court, but there’s always more to it than that. Sometimes this pattern manifests itself in philanthropy or other hobbies outside the field. Here’s the one the athlete signed himself.

COMPARED TO: Bo Jackson’s most shocking athletic achievement was not in baseball or football

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