A lot of NFL players stick with the game in different facets after they retire, either coaching or going into broadcasting. However, a couple of former Pro Bowl players have decided to take their talents to the poker table to keep them occupied, and maybe make a few extra dollars while they’re at it.
Antoine Winfield was drafted into the NFL in 1999 and played until 2013 with the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks. He went to three Pro Bowls as a cornerback. But in the twilight of his career, he couldn’t stay with the Seahawks, so Winfield decided to retire and start the next stage of his life, which was to become a poker player.
From corner to cards isn’t the most obvious transition, but Winfield has always been a fan of the game. He was really sucked into it back in 2003 – as a lot of people were – when Chris Moneymaker qualified for the World Series of Poker and ended up winning it all. Watching the action, Winfield thought to himself that if Moneymaker can make it happen, he could too. Fast forward to 2016 and Winfield was one of the players participating at the World Series of Poker main event. He didn’t make it as far as Moneymaker – as a matter of fact, he didn’t make it out of the first day – but this won’t be the last we hear about Winfield on the poker tables.
He’s not the only NFL player to go from pigskin to poker as another former defensive Pro Bowl player has been hitting the tables.
Richard Seymour had a very accomplished career with New England and Oakland from 2001 to 2012. He was named to the Pro Bowl seven times and he won three Super Bowls with the Patriots. He, too, was at the World Series of Poker Main Event as a player and he at least made it made it to the second day, although reports suggest his stack has thinned.
This isn’t Seymour’s first rodeo at the World Series of Poker as he has played in past years and he has even found time to make it to the booth to provide some commentary. 2016 has been a good year for him in terms of poker as he collected his biggest prize to date; he cashed in at the 2016 World Poker Tour Bay 101 event with a 44th-place finish, which netted him just over $21,000 in winnings.
He’s not the only one seeing some success as defensive end Calais Campbell took part in the $1000 Turbo Top-Up No-Limit Hold ‘Em (Event No. 4) this year and knocked out 2013 WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Reiss.
It’s interesting to see some football players getting into poker tournaments because, as you might recall, the NFL frowned upon their athletes doing so as they were playing. Just last year, the NFL called three Miami Dolphins – Jason Fox, A.J. Francis and Jordan Cameron – and barred them from participating in a $94 tournament. Maybe they’ll soften their stance as more players show their affection for the game.