With the world at his fingertips, actor and athlete, Chester Rogers is involved in a multitude of noteworthy things. Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, the new BMF star is also in his 7th year as a player in the NFL. Currently he is a wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns, but he is also back to acting, his first love, after an eighteen-year hiatus. Although we find that many athletes dabble in acting after their sport careers are over, Rogers is an exception to that notion and started out on the big screen. At just ten years old, he earned his first role as the young Billie Dee Williams in the 2005 film, Constellation where he co-starred alongside Gabrielle UnionHill Harper, and Zoe Saldana. In addition to Constellation, Rogers has starred in other television shows and films such as Tyler Perry’s Madea Family ReunionDirty with Cuba Gooding Jr as Pee WeeCartoon Network’s Re-Animated, along with a variety of commercials, and voice overs.

His success expands much further than just on football fields or movie sets. His background and degree in Business Management from Grambling State has opened many entrepreneurial doors for the young and talented businessman. He has a clothing line, a cannabis line, bars, lounges, real estate, and a family-owned home health care company. And if that weren’t enough, he also founded the Trace Family Foundation, which gives back to children and families. The foundation hosts food drives, backpack giveaways, and gives out Christmas presents and food for families during the holiday season.

In a recent interview with Rogers, he spoke on all of this and more. He also shared his thoughts, and feelings about the recent medical emergency that happened during a game with Damar Hamlin. 

You’ve been in the NFL 7 years and currently play with the Cleveland Browns with stellar stats on your record. Recently, we all witnessed Damar Hamlin go into cardiac arrest during a game. We also witnessed the power people have when we all come together for the greater good of humanity through love and focused prayer. Football is a dangerous sport, yet rewarding in other ways. What message did this situation give to you personally about your own passion for the game?

It was very tough for me to sit there and watch one of my brothers go down and nearly lose his life. Thank God, he made it. But the message it sent to me is that you can’t take anything for granted, you can’t take a play for granted… And it’s very serious, our health. It’s a risk every time we step out on the field. I’ve dealt with injuries throughout my career, and it’s made the journey a tad bit more difficult, but to see something like that, it was extreme. I’ve never seen anything like it. And it just goes back to the argument and the debates we have every season of trying to get guaranteed contracts for these guys… all of us. We’re putting our life on the line every time we step out there. I think it’s highly disrespectful that we’re probably one of the only major sports that’s not getting guaranteed contracts. So, I think the conversation needs to accelerate. I think there needs to be a plan put in place ASAP, because that’s just…crazy. 

In addition to your career in the NFL, you are a professional actor who began when you were 10 years old in Los Angeles. Tell us how that even began, what was it at that early age that pulled you in? 

As a kid, I was just always the entertainment, in whatever room that I stepped in. I was somewhat of a class clown. I just love to see people smile. And the way that it happened was, it wasn’t planned… I was literally at home, eating dinner with my family, and we were watching the news, I look up and they have open auditions for this movie. They were looking for kids and everything… I was like, “Well, can I go?” I asked my parents, they were like, “You really want to go?” I’m like, “Yeah.” I think I had a basketball game the next day… But I was like, “No, I want to go to this audition instead of the basketball game.” And we went and it was a million kids out there. I give my audition, they picked me out the crowd, I landed it… Next thing you know, I’m in the car with Gabrielle Union and Billy Dee Williams, I’m playing a young Billy Dee Williams.

My life changed, like a snap of a finger. And they were like, “Hey, you got to get this kid out to LA.” So, me and my mom, we picked up and we moved. My dad and my brother, they stayed in Alabama, and we moved out for four years and just grinded. My mom, she’s a big part of my success because she sacrificed so much for a dream. We had nothing…no experience, we were from Alabama. So yeah, LA was a big part of my life.

Now you’re currently on the STARZ hot new drama series BMF created by Randy Huggins and produced by rapper 50 cent…what is it like coming back on screen after 18 years.

It’s bittersweet. It’s something that I’ve dreamed of, I haven’t stopped dreaming since my last gig. And I knew I always wanted to go back to acting. I picked up football and it took me to different places, but now that I’m back… I’ve experienced so many different things, I’ve seen a lot, I feel like I’m prepared for this role. I was prepared for it. I’m prepared for the next step of my career in acting, and I’m just enjoying it. It’s amazing. It’s a blessing to be back.

You play the role of Meech’s best friend on the show, in what ways do you personally identify with the character you play? 

My character is really based off loyalty, always having his brother’s back. He’s pretty aggressive… I don’t want to let too much out, but he’s pretty aggressive. When it’s time to handle business, that’s who they call. And I was able to relate to that because, as you will see, I come in late, I’m not one of the original members, but my loyalty to Meech and Terry, especially Meech though, came from a real situation/experience that we both went through. And from there we were locked in. And that’s just goes to show that blood doesn’t make you family all the time, it’s situational. So, I was able to relate to that well.

You’re likened to a modern-day Renaissance Man because you have your hand in so many awesome areas. How do you manage to balance the demands of football, acting and being a father all in one? 

I have an amazing team, I truly do. Amazing team, amazing family, people who step in and try to help me take care of little day-to-day tasks… That’s been a huge part of me being able to balance everything, honestly. Without them, it’s not even humanly possible to be able to do all of these things. I just got to give a lot of credit to my team for having my back and supporting me.

We all can look at you and see you keep yourself in tip top shape physically. How do you keep in shape mentally? Is there anything you practice or do on a regular where you give back to yourself?

I have a massage therapist who is also my mental therapist, and she helps a lot. She knows my body, and she knows when I’m dealing with a lot. I’m able to release a lot when I’m with her. I also have another mental health coach that I deal with. So being able to find those different things that can help my mental health, I try. I’m always open, looking for an advantage, because I know it’s a lot that comes with what I’m doing.

Tell us about your entrepreneurial efforts and some of the business areas you’re involved in

Oh yeah. I’ve always been around entrepreneurship, with my mom, my dad, granddad… The list goes on. I’ve never really seen any of my family members work for anyone. So, it’s always been in me, and it really came about around 2020, when the pandemic hit, because that’s when I fractured my knee, and then we were all on lockdown. I was pretty much forced to really bring my degree to the table. I went to school for business management, but I was forced to sit down and really learn about business, and I started opening my own businesses. Trial and error… Some failed, some successful. And now, it’s just about building a healthy portfolio for me. I have a few lounges, clothing lines… We have family home healthcare; we take care of the mentally disabled. I’m involved with real estate, you name it. Like I said, I’m just trying to build a healthy portfolio.

A hundred years from now when your body has left this earth…what message do you want your children to understand the most about you? 

That their dad would do whatever for them, and I just want them to have a life that I never was able to really have. Because I’ve been grinding all my life. I want them to be able to enjoy it, for generations and generations on. I just really want to leave something for them, that’s what I’m working so hard for.

You’re the type of person who stays active and doesn’t let the grass grow beneath your feet so to speak. What message or words of wisdom can you share with others about getting rid of complacency and working toward their goals? 

For me, I stay in my lane, and I try not to ever compare my journey to others. You got to run your own race. And you can get complacent because it’s always somebody going after your spot. I learned that through football, man. It’s a revolving door and they’re trying to find somebody to replace you every single day. So, I just try to apply that to life, and just keep going. Whatever it is you want to do in life, just do it. Don’t let anyone put you in a box. You don’t just have to be one thing. You want to use all your talents… Please, God gave them to you for a reason. 

What does Chester Rogers do for fun, hobbies?

I travel. I try to travel when I can with my friends, and just all the stresses of the world, I just try to put it the back of my mind and just have fun with them. I love to laugh and joke. Whether we are going bowling, or golfing, it doesn’t matter… We go paint balling too. I just try to do it all. I try to bring the kid out of me and just have fun. It’s always serious with me, so.

It’s been a real pleasure to speak with you, any parting words you’d like to share with your fans? 

I just want to truly thank my family, my supporters for sticking with me up to this point… I’m excited for BMF season two coming out. I’m excited for everybody to see Sterling Black do his thing on the screen. Yeah.

To learn more about Chester Rogers, follow him on Instagram.

Photo Credits: Kayla Madonna