It’s one thing to be a leader on a playing field, court or ice rink, it’s another thing entirely to lead a nation. For many pro (and amateur) athletes, retirement might mean playing some golf, running a business and basking in the glow of a career few get a chance to experience. Some, though, find the soapbox appealing and run for local or even national politics. Dwight D. Eisenhower was a heck of a football player at West Point Military Academy, but made an even better POTUS. Ike graduated from the football field at Michie Stadium to Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. In 1952, Ike retired from the Army and ran for president under the Republican banner. He won and became the 34th President of the United States. He wasn’t the only one. Gerald R. Ford helped the University of Michigan to national titles in 1932 and 1933 before later becoming the 38th POTUS.
Gerald Ford wasn’t the only product of the big Blue football machine at the University of Michigan to hold federal office. Ex-Philadelphia Eagle and San Diego Charger Jon Runyan went from being one of the dirtiest players in the NFL, to being a Republican representative for New Jersey’s third congressional district. Prior to being Congressman, Runyan played 14 seasons in the NFL as an offensive tackle, after being drafted in the fourth round of the 1996 draft by the Houston Oilers. He eventually ended up in Philly, where he went to the Pro Bowl in 2003. A poll in 2006 said that Runyan played the game rough, ranking him second dirtiest player in the league. Let’s hope he’s cleaned up the dirty act as a GOP member of Congress.