Ephraim Salaam

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Team: Retired NFL Player
Hometown: Chicago, IL
College: San Diego State
DOB: 6/19/1976
 

Ephraim Salaam is that rare athlete who truly welcomes the spotlight both on and off the field. His megawatt smile and quick wit are unparalleled in the NFL, and he has twelve successful seasons with 149 games to back up his banter. In 2006, Ephraim brought his veteran know-how to Houston, and in 2007 he was the backbone of the offensive line, holding them to 22 sacks on the year and 32 sacks in 2008, as compared to the 60 sacks in 2005. The 2009 season opens a new door in a new city with the Detroit Lions. Detroit recognized Ephraim’s leadership and talent to lead the offensive line and wasted no time signing him.

Salaam was selected by Atlanta in the seventh round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He started all 19 games during his rookie season, regular and postseason, and is only the fourth player in league history to accomplish this feat. That same year, he was part of an offensive line that helped the Falcons advance to Super Bowl XXXIII against the Broncos. This former foe then turned to friend when Salaam signed with Denver in 2002.

And although Denver knew what they had on the field, Ephraim surprised them with his media-savvy quips in the locker room. The Broncos offensive line was notorious for shunning the press and fining teammates who spoke to the media, but they soon discovered that nothing contains the charm of Ephraim Salaam. For someone who plays a classically thankless role on the field, Salaam knows how to draw the cameras and columnists like the flashiest of running backs or wide receivers. Both vocal and lovable, he is always available for comment.

Salaam’s “off the cuff” style and quick wit has led to numerous television appearances nationwide. Among those opportunities Ephraim has recently been a recurring host and correspondent for Fox’s “Best Damn Sports Show Period” and he has also been a guest host, correspondent and resident movie critic for the NFL Network’s “Total Access.” He expanded his on-camera resume with a foray into acting on the CW hit sitcom “The Game.” During Super Bowl XLII, with 97.5 million viewers, Ephraim starred in the NFL’s Super Ad Commercial, where viewers were able to see another side of his magnetic personality. Following the hit commercial Ephraim was contacted by his newest fan, “Ellen DeGeneres” who brought him on her show after recognizing his star quality. After a memorable performance, Ellen permanently hired Ephraim as one of her correspondents for the “The Ellen Show.” Segments for the show have included, the 2008 and 2009 Grammy’s, GMC’s Highway to Ellen, On the Road with Ellen in Orlando and 12 Days of Christmas. As a follow up to his 2008 NFL Super Ad, Ephraim also starred in the NFL’s 2009 NFL Super Ad promotional commercial, which aired for months on every major television network, encouraging fans to vote for the next Super Ad. Ephraim has also been a correspondent for ESPN during the ESPY Awards for the past three years. This past season Ephraim was featured on ESPN’s MNF Countdown, “For Love of the Game” and during the 2009 playoffs, Ephraim was a guest host on FOX 11 Los Angeles and continues to entertain locally and nationally.

Ephraim’s knack for witty repartee can be traced to his exemplary academic performance. He skipped two grades in elementary school and enrolled at San Diego State as a 16-year-old freshman. A three-year starter at offensive tackle for SDSU, Salaam also starred on the Aztecs basketball team and was nicknamed the “Shaq of the WAC.” Not surprisingly, at 6’7” and 300 lbs., he was quite a force in the 2003 NBA All-Star Celebrity Slam Dunk contest.

Just as he has capitalized on his college sports experience, Salaam has made use of his degree in Child Development. He jumps at every chance to participate in charitable activities in both his NFL team communities and home state of California. He is especially dedicated to the academic advancement of underprivileged children and founded “The EMS Foundation” to provide much-needed educational opportunities. Ephraim’s annual “Shop with a Jock’ event provides disadvantaged kids the chance to shop for Christmas presents with a $100 gift card courtesy of Salaam and his foundation.

Whether in the stadium or on the stage, this combination of gridiron grit and a gregarious personality will keep Ephraim Salaam in the spotlight. After football is over, there is no doubt that Ephraim will be a permanent fixture on the big screen, cracking up audiences around the world.

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