Denzel Washington is “glad” his eldest son quit playing American football professionally to pursue an acting career because he suffered countless concussions during his brief stint on the field.

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In an interview with PEOPLE, the famed actor said he’s elated that his son John David Washington decided to trade in football playbooks for scripts given a string of injuries.

“He’s had I don’t know how many concussions, a broken collarbone, a torn up knee and Achilles [tendon],” Washington said. The veteran thespian’s offspring can be seen in HBO’s Ballers series and his feature role in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman.


33-year-old Washington played football at Morehouse College, where he impressed NFL scouts and landed on the St. Louis Rams for their 2006-07 season. He also played for the NFL Europa team Rhein Fire

Young Washington landed his breakthrough role in 2015 on Dwayne Johnsons hit sports drama series Ballers, ironically portraying a football star onscreen.

The NFL has been under pressure in the last decade to make the game safer for their players. New rules to protect the ball carrier, especially the quarterback, have been implemented after the rise of CTE in players has made several experts question the necessity of the sport. It’s best John David got out of the sport early and found his true calling in following his father’s footsteps.