Former Tennessee Titans linebacker Colin Allred helped shake up the Texas political landscape by upending veteran GOP Rep. Pete Sessions to claim reigns over the 32nd congressional district seat on Tuesday, November 6. With the victory, Allred became one of five ex-NFL players to win election day bids.
Sessions’ defeat at the hands of the 35-year-old jock turned civil rights attorney proved to be one of the more shocking outcomes of the night. Just one day prior, a CBS report cited FiveThirtyEight as having Allred trailing the 11-term incumbent with a mere three in 10 chance of securing a win. Perhaps due to the record turnout that many are crediting to the rise of Beto O’Rourke as a legitimate challenger to Sen. Ted Cruz, Allred would defy the odds against him by obtaining 52 percent of the vote.
According to Pro Football Reference, Allred played five years of professional football, joining the Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2006 and going on to record 46 tackles in the 32 games he’d suit up for henceforth. Not long into his tenure, however, the Bailor alum made the choice to leave the sport in order to pursue a career in law. The decision led him to complete his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley before he went on to serve as a special assistant in the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Obama administration. His ascension to Congress now marks the end of the road for Sessions, who has been in power in the 32nd district since 1997.
“We’re in this together… We’re all Americans, we’re all Texans. And starting tonight, we’re going to start acting like it,” Allred told the crowd of supporters who convened to celebrate upon receiving confirmation of the election results.
Allred was one of two candidates to successfully make the transition from the gridiron to Washington in the midterms, with GOP hopeful Anthony Gonzalez being the other.
Gonzalez may be remembered by Indianapolis Colts fans as the team’s first-round wide receiver chosen out of Ohio State in the 2007 draft, but he has since transformed into a player in the Republican party. As a player on the field, Gonzalez managed to tally up 1,307 receiving yards on 99 catches, but most of that production came early on, as his final three seasons saw him go down repeatedly with injuries. The choice to go into politics came full circle as he handily surpassed Democratic challenger Susan Moran Palmer with 56 percent of the vote.
Allred and Gonzalez may be fresh faces in the House of Representatives, but they are not the only newly elected officials to have once worn a helmet. Around the NFL writer Kevin Patra notes that former Raiders, Vikings, and Chiefs linebacker Napoleon Harris ran unopposed to claim a spot in the Illinois Senate, former Packers and Giants safety Aaron Rouse was voted into the Virginia Beach city council, and ex-Packers and Redskins tight end Clint Didier edged his opponent out in the Franklin County, Washington, commissioner’s race.