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NFC South vet playing new roles

Just a few minutes before tipoff of the NCAA basketball championship on Monday night, I saw a familiar face. On a commercial for a chain of hair-cutting places, I saw Matt Willig.

He’s one of the more obscure players I’ve ever covered, but also one of the more interesting. Willig had a two-year stint with the Falcons back in the 1990s and he spent 2003 and ’04 with the Panthers. That’s when I got to know him.

Willig was never much more than a backup offensive tackle in a career that also included stints with the Jets, Packers, 49ers and Rams. Back in his Carolina days, Willig was already looking ahead to life after football. He already had done some acting and said his plan was to continue down that road.

Apparently, Willig is doing that and I think I saw him in some other commercial not too long ago. I just did a little research and it looks like Willig has been appearing in some films and television shows recently.

I remember Willig talking about acting once and saying he didn’t want to be stereotyped as a “big bad scary guy." Had to chuckle at that one a bit when I saw the commercial last night because that was precisely the role Willig was playing. But, hey, you’ve got to play to your strengths. Even though Willig is a sharp, sensitive guy with a good sense of humor, he is 6-foot-8 and 315 pounds.