After a 10-year NFL career, Eddie George, center, is
adapting to life on the stage and in the theater. George
will be at the Marcus Center in Milwaukee starting
Tuesday with the traveling Broadway production of
Eddie George heard millions of fans roar in
excitement throughout a 10-year NFL career when he broke
loose for a big gain or carried the ball into the end
Ten years ago, he connected with another audience,
but much smaller than the one with an upward of 70,000
fans packed tightly into football stadium seats.
"I started getting involved in the community
theater," said George, 43, who won the 1995 Heisman
Trophy in his senior year at Ohio State University.
"The stakes are so high in live theater," he added.
"The reaction, the energy is so intimate and right in
"To hear your effect on the audience about what
youíre trying to do in the play, itís gratifying to know
youíre telling a story. Thatís what drew me to the stage
and playing various roles."
Since he retired from the NFL in 2006, George has
performed in more than 100 shows and has appeared in
several television shows and movies.
His latest venture brings him to the Marcus Center on
Tuesday through April 30 in Milwaukee, playing the role
of Billy Flynn in the Tony Award-winning Broadway
musical, "Chicago," as part of his touring Broadway
"Chicago" is set in the 1920s and tells the story of
Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders
her on-the-side lover after he threatens to leave her.
Trying to avoid a conviction, Hart hires the cityís
slickest criminal attorney
to transform her crime into a barrage of sensational
"I love playing the role of Billy Flynn,"
George said. "Itís an iconic play, an iconic role, a
great cast. To come to Milwaukee and do it is awesome."
In 1996, the following spring after George won the
Heisman Trophy, the Houston Oilers
Tennessee Titans in Nashville
drafted him in the first round of the NFL Draft with the
No. 14 overall pick.
He was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1996.
For his career, he was a four-time Pro Bowl selection
(1997-2000), second-team All- Pro in 1999 and first-team
Following the 1999 regular season, George played in
Super Bowl XXXIV, where the Titans lost to the St. Louis
Rams, 23-16. The game is best remembered for Titans
receiver Kevin Dyson being tackled at the 1- yard line
on the last play of the game by the Ramsí Mike Jones.
The play is known in NFL history as "One Yard Short" and
"I think about it occasionally ... when people ask me
George said with a chuckle. "It was such a great
experience to play in the Super Bowl. To finish at the
1-yard line ... it was kind of bittersweet. People still
remember that game, but we didnít end up on the winning
side of it. Thatís what hurts the most.
"Overall, to get to the Super Bowl is a
once-in-a-lifetime thing and to get the opportunity to
play at a high level in there, almost have a chance to
win was even better."
He played with the Oilers/Titans through the 2003
season. He signed a one-year contract with the Dallas
Cowboys in 2004.
He officially retired in 2006, finishing with 10,441
rushing yards ó
27th-most in NFL history.
"I fulfilled a childhood dream playing not only
college football, but professionally and at a high
level," George said. "That was an amazing experience for
me. It goes by fast, a lot faster than you think."
So what was next?
During his playing career, he was focused on playing
well for his teammates and the fans, hoping to one day
win a championship. But, deep in the back of his mind,
he dabbled with ideas of what to do post-football.
"I wanted to find something I love to do," George
said. "I had a buddy that got me some acting roles after
my playing days."
He never participated in high school or college
theater. His lone acting experience during his playing
days was when he appeared in a
1996 episode of "Coach," starring Craig T. Nelson.
When football was done, he began working with an
"I really started to immerse myself into acting, tell
a story on stage," George said.
Playing on a football field and being on a stage, he
thought they were similar, which helped him get started.
"It was the energy of the audience, camaraderie with
the other actors, it was very reminiscent of (a football
team) with a common goal," George said.
After his playing career, George, a native of
Philadelphia, decided to stay in the Nashville area and
thatís where he got latched onto community theater.
His first role was an ensemble in a production of
with Belcourt Theatre in Nashville in 2006. He said
he was more nervous for that than he was playing in a
Super Bowl or any NFL game.
"It was foreign to me," George said of acting.
"Football was a different kind of nerves.
"(Being on stage) was something new and different.
Thereís no doubt about it."
When he was done, he was relieved it was over and he
thought it went OK. However, he also remembered feeling,
"Wow. That felt good. I feel comfortable doing this. I
didnít have stage fright. I didnít care what anybody
In 2007, he was cast in the movie, "The Game Plan,"
starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Heís also been cast
in "Best Man Holiday" and "Into the Sun," starring
In 2012, he played Julius Caesar during the Nashville
Shakespeare Festival. The next year he was Othello in
the same festival. In 2015, he was in "The Whipping Man"
by the Nashville Repertory Theater.
In January 2016, George made his Broadway debut with
"I wasnít looking for anything other than the pure
joy of doing something I love to do," George said. "Itís
the same gratification I got out of football. Itís
something I hope I can do for the rest of my life."
What: "Chicago," starring former NFL star Eddie
When: Tuesday through April 30
Where: Marcus Center, 929 N. Water St., Milwaukee
Tickets: Range from $31-$131; call Marcus Center Box
Office at 414-273-7206 or visit online at
Info: "Chicago," winner of six Tony Awards in 1997, is
the longest-running American musical in Broadway