'Family Reunion' star Anthony Alabi opens up about quitting the NFL, working with a team and 'playing against type'

'Family Reunion' star Anthony Alabi opens up about quitting the NFL, working with a team and 'playing against type'

Anthony Alabi quit a solid career in the NFL to pursue his dream to be an actor. Despite the risks and the struggle, he has managed to make his way through the industry and is now starring in his very first lead role on the Netflix sitcom 'Family Reunion'. He plays Moz McKellan, a character with a very similar background to the actor: Moz is from Georgia, Alabi is from Texas and they are both retired NFL players. 

Speaking in an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), the actor opened up about how his past as a football player allowed him to draw from his own experiences in the NFL and in his own words, try “playing against type.”

Anthony Alabi attends the premiere of Netflix's "Stranger Things" Season 3 on June 28, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Getty Images)

“I think a lot of people have an idea in their head of who an NFL player is and I wanted to be sure that though Moz is an NFL player and he’s played 15 years, he's not just this kind of meathead or blockhead,” Alabi explained. “He is sensitive, he has an idea of what he wants and he can be whatever he needs to be, whatever the situation calls for. And whether that's a loving father, a loving husband or disciplinarian or just the comic relief, he is that no matter what.”


The actor had a very difficult decision to make when he chose to leave his career in the NFL to follow his passion but he feels he was “fortunate enough to listen to that inner voice and take the leap."

“It's not that I was unhappy playing football,” he recalled. “I love playing football. I wasn't “in love” with football and I think that was a big difference for me.”

“It was very scary and I was fortunate enough to just be single and not have to worry about kids and my family,” he added. “It was a huge decision, but it was something that I think needed to happen for me. And that's what they call a calling.”

Alabi admits to missing being part of a team since ending his NFL days but he’s glad to have found a new team on the set of ‘Family Reunion’.

“That's the biggest thing with football that I missed,” he said. “It was that idea of having all of these people, no matter where you come from, no matter what your philosophies are, you come together to do this one thing and do it with one direction and I think that that's something that's pretty amazing and special and if you're lucky enough you get to do it once in your lifetime and I’m doing it twice now so I'm very fortunate.”


Speaking about his future plans, Alabi teased that there’s “a lot coming down the pipeline.” Right now, the actor is working to balance family time with doing PR for the show while continuing to write and get a script ready to start producing. He is also guest-starring on ‘Raven’s Home’ as Coach Spitz and getting on other shows and even some films.

“Just trying to stay busy and make sure I remember to eat,” the actor joked. “Other than that, it's going to be really exciting and I would say stay tuned because this is just the beginning." 

Family Reunion' will debut on Netflix on July 10.


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 Family Reunion star Anthony Alabi quitting the NFL working with a team playing against type