Posted by / 22-Sep-2014 12:00

Prior to becoming a professional wrestler, Simmons was an American college and pro football player who was a defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL), Canadian Football League (CFL) and United States Football League (USFL) for four seasons during the 1980s.He played college football for Florida State University, and was recognized as an All-American.Simmons was dominant through the first half of the year against lower level competition on house shows, including Whatley and The Terminator.

Soon after, in early 1989, Simmons turned heel by breaking the rules during what was supposed to be a face vs. Simmons won the match when the referee, Ron's future manager Teddy Long made a fast count (Long was fired (kayfabe) as referee by Jim Herd immediately following this match).On September 5, the rookie defeated The Barbarian in Baltimore.On the October 24th episode of Power Pro Wrestling he became involved in his first televised angle when he was attacked by Tiger Conway Jr. He remained undefeated in singles actions until finally losing to Ivan Koloff on a house show at the Omni in Atlanta in February 14, 1988.He played for the Cleveland Browns in 19, and the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits from 1983 to 1985, and it was in Tampa where he was a teammate of future professional wrestler Lex Luger.Simmons joined Jim Crockett Promotions in 1987, appearing on the first show of the Great American Bash tour when he defeated The Tahitian Prince in Lakeland, Florida on July 1.


Simmons played four years (1977-1980) as a defensive nose guard at FSU under coach Bobby Bowden (whom Simmons described as "a second father"), earning Consensus All-America honors in 19.