Sports Editor Will Hammock
Knee injuries kept Kenny Irons from his goal of being a longtime running back in the NFL, but it doesn’t mean he can’t play one on TV.
Or in this case, the big screen.
For those who saw the movie “The Best Man Holiday” — it opened last week with a $30.6 million take at the box office — or for those who will soon, take note of the football scenes. The action sequences aren’t star Morris Chestnut, though the close-up shots are.
The long touchdown run. The big hit for a loss. The fumble. Those are done by his stunt double, Kenny Charles Irons. The Dacula grad’s name is in the credits for those non-believers.
“It was fun. It was exciting,” Irons said. “I had a great time, an awesome time. I got a chance to meet all the actors as well.”
In addition to Chestnut, the movie also features well-known stars like Terrence Howard and Taye Diggs. Chestnut has portrayed a football player in the past — perhaps most notably as Ricky Baker in 1991’s “Boyz n the Hood” — but he’s 44 now and that’s where Irons came in.
At 5-foot-11, he’s roughly the same height as Chestnut, though he looks the football part more at 200 pounds, considerably heftier than Chestnut, who is listened online at closer to 160 pounds.
“You watch these movies and the guys seem so big,” Irons said. “You think they’re these 6-2, big guys. (Chestnut) was little. He’s more like T.I. or Trey Songz. He’s a little bigger than those guys, but not as big as you think. I’m used to these big football players.”
A former star running back at Auburn, Irons was a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals and was with the NFL team until knee injuries derailed his career. He stays in shape these days and works as an athletic trainer, but recently began working his way into acting.
His first role wasn’t a speaking part, but it came in a pretty prominent movie. He’s hoping that opens the door for larger roles, and he’s even turned down a few of late. He’s taken acting classes to help his chances.
“I still do training on the side, but I really want to get further with acting,” Irons said.
The 30-year-old also is involved with TV show project that chronicles how athletes and coaches spend their offseason. A crew from California works with Irons as he visits with those sports stars and the show will be pitched to networks soon.
His goal is to make many more on-screen appearances, and his first step into that world was a pretty good one.
“It was fun to be a part of ‘The Best Man Holiday’ because that movie was like 14 or 15 years in the making (as a sequel to ‘The Best Man’),” Irons said. “I’m glad I got to be a part of it. You’ve got to wait to the end, but that’s me.”
Will Hammock can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock.