Thomas Q. Jones Discusses Luke Cage & Going from NFLer to Actor

Thomas Q. Jones

There are few men who fit the description of tall, dark, and handsome better than actor, Thomas Q. Jones. A former NFL pro, he’s seamlessly made the transition from athlete to an actor after retiring from professional football back in 2011. Since stepping away from football, he’s been quite successful in the acting world, snatching up many different roles and appearing in a few top-notch projects. More recently, he’s joined the Marvel universe as Comanche in Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix.

In the series, Thomas’ character Comanche is a Harlem guy who starts off at Seagate Prison and gets released during the run of the show. The former inmate comes back to the streets with a goal of making a name for himself in the criminal underworld. It helps that he’s very close to Shades (Theo Rossi), one of the show’s biggest villains. However, at times it’s hard to tell whether he’s a criminal loyalist or a no good saboteur.

“My character is a very conflicted person. He is confused, disheveled, and I think he doesn’t know who he is. I think that’s the beautiful thing about the Comanche character. He’s like most people who go through these things in their lives. He’s fresh out of prison and adjusting to life on the streets.”

Though Thomas receives a lot of praise and recognition for his performance in Luke Cage, he admits that he never really intended on playing the character. He originally went out for the role of Shades, but production thought that he would make a much better Comanche. It seems that he was better suited for the role after all and is able to uniquely relate to the character.

Thomas Q. Jones

It’s worth mentioning that Thomas dove head first into acting without any prior experience. Being an NFL player is the only career he’s ever had; performing as an athlete is the life that he’s known since he was 8-years-old. For 12 years, he was one of the best Running Backs in the game and is considered one of the Top 25 leading rushers of all-time. Thomas has played for the Arizona Cardinals, NY Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, he’s managed to transform himself from Thomas Jones the Rushing Back to Thomas Q. Jones actor/producer.

“When I retired from the NFL, I felt alone and kind of confused. I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and this was the first time that I was single in a long time. I also didn’t have football, which I played since I was 8-years-old.”

Some of the television and movie roles that he’s done in the last few years include BET’s Being Mary Jane, Straight Outta Compton, Born Again Virgin, Hawaii Five-O, and A Violent Man. Many of his fans remember his role as the large guy in Straight Outta Compton or refer to him as Cutty Buddy from his time on Being Mary Jane.

He also owns a production company, Independently Major Entertainment, which started out as a music production company. Later he added a film/television component. Even though he’s spending more time on acting, he’s still involved in the process of creating and developing shows and films.

With his change in career, Thomas also learned that he had to change his looks. It took a request from casting director Leah Daniels-Butler to get the once 230lb foot player to change up his lifestyle to achieve a more lean look. In addition to going from a brick wall to a chiseled statue, Thomas has recently signed a contract with Wilhelmina Models. Thanks to the good people at Wilhelmina we’ll all be seeing a lot more of Thomas’ huge chest and massive arms.

Thomas Q. Jones

But that’s not all that he has going on. Outside of entertainment, Thomas owns a tech company called Castar, along with his partners Sky Powell and Brian Gerrard. The company specializes in mobile apps and has launched an app that helps to improve the casting process for actors and production companies in Los Angeles. The idea is that casting directors can post their castings or open acting gigs through the act, giving actors the power to respond with their headshot or reels. It’s supposed to make it easier to cast roles and level the playing field for actors who may not have representation to help them get good roles.

Simply looking a Thomas Q. Jones, no one would ever guess how complex this guy truly is. He spent most of his life working his butt off to physically perform with some of the most gifted athletes in the world. Then, he switches things up and taps into his creative side to become an actor; and essentially an artist. With Castar, he’s demonstrating how innovative he can be, by combining the tech space with his passion for acting. Not to mention, he seems to be a natural and very creative entrepreneur. At 40-years-old, the layers that he’s displaying are astounding, and there’s no doubt that we will witness some extraordinary moments from Thomas in the next 40 years.

Martel Sharpe

Martel is a writer in Atlanta, who's cooler than a polar bear's toenail. He loves reading, writing, and brunch. Reach out to Martel through email, martel.kontrolhomme@gmail.com or follow him on Instagram and Twitter @markopolowe.