Where Are They Now?: Mike Adamle

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June 25, 2014

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Mike Adamle and Shane McMahon

Looking back, it would be easy to assume that former “American Gladiators” host Mike Adamle had no clue about what he was getting himself into when he signed on to become a WWE broadcaster in 2008. He famously mispronounced Jeff Hardy’s name within 20 seconds of his first appearance on WWE television, and punctuated the end of matches with sportscaster catchphrases like “Uno, dos, adios!” It was as if someone had mistakenly dropped Adamle off at a WWE Live event instead of the sports desk at a local news station.

Mike Adamle photos | Video highlights

In reality, Adamle had been hoping the opportunity would present itself for more than 20 years.  His road to WWE began with a chance meeting with Mr. McMahon on a beach in Antigua of all places.

“I went and introduced myself, and he knew that I played football,” Adamle told WWE.com. “ I said, ‘Hey, one day, who knows? I might be working for you.’”

Adamle grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio, and has fond memories of seeing squared circle icons like Bobo Brazil battle at the Cleveland Arena. But his life took a different path once he put on a helmet and pads and stepped onto the gridiron. Even though he was less than six feet tall and didn’t even weigh 200 pounds, Adamle had a passion for the game.

“It’s such a great sport,” he said. “Not being the biggest guy in the world, I loved playing the ‘guy who can’t possibly make it, makes it’ role, and that was part of what fueled the fire for me.”

After a standout career at Northwestern University, where he received All-American honors as a fullback, served as team captain and was named the MVP of the Big Ten Conference in 1970, Adamle was drafted in the fourth round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Over six years in the league with the Chiefs, New York Jets and Chicago Bears, Adamle rushed for more than 100 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ vaunted “Steel Curtain” defense, and had the chance to play with football legends like Joe Namath and Walter Payton.

“That’s the show,” Adamle said. “That’s the highest you can go. I got to play for some great coaches and played with some great players.”

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