Over the years, the CBS family of reality shows that include Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Big Brother has welcomed quite a few professional athletes to try their hand at winning the reality show titles and prizes. Here is a list of professional athletes who have been on these shows, including a team of NFL stars and a team of professional volleyball players that both embarks on The Amazing Race 32 when it premieres Wednesday, October 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Tyson Apostol, Survivor
This four-time Survivor player was a professional cyclist in Switzerland, Belgium, and Austria. He rode for the Austrian professional continental team, Team Volksbank, from 2005 to 2007. Apostol most notably won Survivor: Blood vs Water and then he and his playing partner from that season, Rachel Foulger, later married and have two children.
Alan Ball, Survivor
This former NFL cornerback played for the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Chicago Bears. He later placed 15th on Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers.
Gary Barnidge & DeAngelo Williams, The Amazing Race
These two former NFL players are about to compete on The Amazing Race 32, so tune in Wednesdays to CBS to find out how they do. They both played professional football — Barnidge was a tight end who played for the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns, and Williams was a running back who played for the Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Aras Baskauskas, Survivor
You might not know this, but Survivor: Panama winner Aras Baskauskas played professional basketball in Lithuania after a successful college career at the University of California, Irvine.
J.P. Calderon, Survivor
This Survivor: Cook Islands contestant played professional volleyball in 2004 and 2005. He also spent five years coaching the Long Beach State University women’s volleyball team.
Brad Culpepper, Survivor
This Survivor: Blood vs. Water and Survivor: Game Changers castaway was a defensive tackle in the NFL for nine seasons, playing for the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Bears from 1992 to 2000.
Tyler Frederickson, Survivor
This kicker played for five different NFL teams but unfortunately, never made it out of the preseason. In 2008, he signed with the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League. He also finished in seventh place on Survivor: Worlds Apart.
Ken Greene and His Wife Tina, The Amazing Race
This former NFL safety played for the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers from 1978 to 1984. He and his wife, Tina, competed on the 13th season of The Amazing Race, finishing in second place.
Gary Hogeboom, Survivor
This sneaky sneak went on Survivor: Guatemala and tried to pretend he wasn’t a former NFL player, but Danni Boatwright, who is a huge sports fan and even worked in sports radio at the time, recognized him and outed him, though they actually were allies in the game. He played in the NFL from 1980 until 1990 for the Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Phoenix Caridnals, and Washington Football Team.
Jimmy Johnson, Survivor
Technically Johnson was not a professional athlete, but he was a professional coach. He was an NFL head coach from 1989 to 1999 for the Cowboys and then Miami Dolphins, winning two Super Bowls as head coach of the Cowboys. He competed on Survivor: Nicaragua and was voted out third.
Jeff Kent, Survivor
This former professional second baseman played 17 years in the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Dodgers. The five-time All-Star went on to compete on Survivor: Philippines where he finished in 10th place.
Julia Landauer, Survivor
This athlete is the rare case of being on Survivor before her athletic career. She competed on Survivor: Caramoan, finishing in 13th place. After her time on the show, she went on to become a NASCAR driver. In 2016, she was the highest-finishing female driver ever in the season-long points race.
Chuck Liddell, Big Brother
This former MMA and UFC champion competed on the first season of Celebrity Big Brother, but he was the first person evicted from the house. He also appeared on season nine of Dancing With the Stars.
Natalie Eva Marie, Big Brother
This former WWE professional wrestler also competed on Celebrity Big Brother. She finished in 7th place on the second season of the show.
Ashley Massaro, Survivor
Massaro is another former WWE professional wrestler. She competed on Survivor: China where she was the second person voted out. Sadly, Massaro died in May 2019.
Grant Mattos, Survivor
Mattos is a former NFL wide receiver and special teams player who played for the Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Tennessee Titans from 2003 to 2006. He appeared on Survivor: Redemption Island, finishing in a tie for sixth place.
Riley and Maddison McKibbin, The Amazing Race
These two brothers are about to embark on their Amazing Race journey when season 32 premieres October 14. They are both professional beach volleyball players, though they have also played on indoor professional teams.
Chester Pitts & Ephraim Salaam, The Amazing Race
Pitts was an NFL offensive lineman from 2002 to 2011, playing for the Texans and Seattle Seahawks. Salaam was an offensive tackle in the NFL from 1998 to 2010, playing for the Atlanta Falcons, Broncos, Jaguars, Texans, and Detroit Lions. They competed on the 23rd season of The Amazing Race, finishing in ninth place.
Marcus Pollard and His Wife Amani, The Amazing Race
This NFL tight end played for the Colts from 1995 to 2004, then played briefly for the Lions, Seahawks, New England Patriots, and Falcons before his retirement in 2008. In 2011, he and his wife Amani finished third on The Amazing Race 19.
Scot Pollard, Survivor
This former NBA player was active for eleven years, playing primarily for the Kings and Pacers. He also had brief stints with the Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics. In 2016, he appeared on Survivor: Kaoh Rong, finishing in eight place.
Cliff Robinson, Survivor
Robinson was a longtime Portland Trailblazer in the NBA, playing with them from 1989 to 1997. He also played for the Phoenix Suns, Pistons, Golden State Warriors, and New Jersey Nets. After he retired, he appeared on Survivor: Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty, finishing in 14th place. Sadly, he died from Lymphoma in August 2020 at the age of 53.
John Rocker, Survivor
This MLB reliever played for the Atlanta Braves from 1998 to 2001, then briefly for the Indians, Texas Rangers, and Tampa Bay Rays. He competed on Survivor: San Juan del Sur and came in 16th place.
Metta Sandiford-Artest, Big Brother
Also known as Ron Artest and Metta World Peace, this former NBA star played professional basketball from 1999 to 2017 for hte Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and New York Knicks. He was the fourth person evicted from the first season of Celebrity Big Brother. Like fellow houseguest Liddell, he also competed on Dancing With the Stars.
Ricky Williams, Big Brother
This former NFL running back spent the majority of his career with the Miami Dolphins but also had stints with the New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens. He appeared on the second season of Celebrity Big Brother, finishing in second place behind Tamar Braxton.
Steve Wright, Survivor
This former NFL offensive tackle played for the Cowboys, Colts, and Raiders during his 13-year career. He then competed on Survivor: Redemption Island, placing tenth.
Ethan Zohn, Survivor
Zohn is perhaps best known for both winning Survivor: Africa, his battle with cancer, and his tireless philanthropy work, but he also played professional soccer. He played for the Hawaii Tsunami and the Cape Cod Crusaders in the United States and the Highlanders Football Club in Zimbabwe.
The Amazing Race returns for its 32nd season on Wednesday, October 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Survivor hopes to film season 41 in the spring of 2021 for a fall 2021 premiere.
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