With his ability to crush opposing offenses any given Sunday, Willie McGinest is a force to be reckoned with on the gridiron. The veteran linebacker signed with Cleveland in 2006 after 12 successful seasons in New England. He made an immediate impact for the Browns, notching 46 tackles and 4 sacks while adding immeasurable value to the team through mentoring and leadership and carried that same momentum throughout the 2008 season. McGinest ranks third on the Patriots all-time sack list, and he is the all-time sack leader in NFL playoff history, an accomplishment punctuated by one stellar night in 2006. His record-breaking performance came with a stunning 4 ½ sacks and 8 tackles in an AFC wild card victory. Those 4 ½ sacks also set an NFL single-game playoff record.
Willie McGinest was drafted out of the University of Southern California by the Patriots in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft. From there he worked tirelessly to become one of the most electric and formidable defenders in the team’s history. He was instrumental in leading New England to Super Bowl Championships in 2002, 2004, and 2005. Even more amazingly, his three Super Bowl rings and two Pro Bowl selections have come in the latter half of his career thus far. Willie’s steadfast approach to his job lies at the heart of his success. “I’ve got a commitment to this game like no other,” he says, “I’ve been playing it since I was 8 years old.”
And Willie meets all challenges and endeavors with the same amount of determination and focus he uses on the playing field. He is CEO of a multifaceted entertainment company called “55 Entertainment” which encompasses charitable work, event planning, and the record label 55 Records. Now that “55 Entertainment” has secured a production deal with A&M/Interscope, McGinest is already forging a name for himself in the music industry. When he is not on the field or in the studio you can also find him at one of his most recent business ventures. Willie recently confirmed a franchise agreement for three WingStop restaurants in Southern California. “I’ve been involved with franchising before and wanted to find a business that I could bring to my community.” WingStop restaurants were founded in 1994 and began franchising in 1997.
Willie has always been credited for the strong locker room presence that compliments his play. Naturally, he carries this demeanor onto the set. His commentating, hosting, and acting skills can be seen on such networks as The NFL Network, Fox Sports Net, ESPN and more. He has also graced numerous television and radio commercials and made guest appearances on several sitcoms including a 2007 episode of “The Game” on the CW Network. He even tried his hand at the game show genre with “Wheel of Fortune.” McGinest has likewise been featured in a diverse array of publications including lifestyle magazines like The Source and FHM and was featured on the cover of DUB. Willie was also named one of Essence Magazine’s 2008 “Do Right Men,” highlighting his philanthropic endeavors and accomplishments and in 2009 Willie was voted as one of the twenty hottest influencers by Urban Influence Magazine.
Willie’s greatest attributes are the personality and compassion behind his 6’5” 270-pound frame. He holds a degree in public administration and has always championed the communities and charities both where he plays and in his native Southern California. He hits the red carpet to support events such as the “NAACP Image Awards” and “Kid’s Choice Awards” as often as the “ESPY’s.” Willie is especially dedicated to children’s causes and takes every opportunity to help underprivileged kids through his non-profit, the Willie McGinest Foundation. As he says, giving back is “what it really is all about,” and his endless hours of work are the proof. Former teammate Troy Brown puts it best, "That's Willie. He's the engine that won't stop." Whether on the field, on the set, or in the community, one thing is guaranteed, Willie McGinest is always striving for a better result and a brighter future.More Information about Willie McGinest