Bills' rookie McCloud wants to produce on the field, then on the big screen

July 15, 2018

Fred Dryer.  

Bubba Smith.  

Jim Brown. 

Ray-Ray McCloud?

Could the Bills' rookie wide receiver someday play characters in Hollywood movies like a handful of NFL players have before him? The Clemson product knows he’s got a lot of football in front of him, but when it’s all done, years down the road, that’s his plan.  

But unlike most former NFLers-turned-actors, McCloud’s aspirations go beyond just being seen on the big screen. He wants to be behind it, too. In fact, the 21-year old has already started writing loose scripts.

“One day, when I’m done with football, I want to be a director and producer in movies,” McCloud told me after one of his final minicamp practice before heading back to Florida before training camp starts, adding he wants to act, as well. “I’m going to learn how to write scripts word-for-word, but right now I just write how I want my movie to be, planned out and set.”

How did one of the top high school football recruits in the nation fall in love with “lights, camera, action?” Even he isn’t totally sure.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I didn’t read too much growing up, (but) I used to write a lot.” And that writing wasn’t just words. McCloud’s love for cinematography was an extension of another of his off-the-field talents. Drawing.

“Once I was like imagining stuff and ‘what if this movie was like this?’’ he said. “I just watch [movies] differently. I’m like, ‘what if they ever did this, how would it be different?’’

Acting. Directing. Producing. It's no surprise McCloud wants to be involved in every aspect he can when his playing career is over. That's because versatility has always been the name of his game in football, too. The Bills' sixth-round pick was a do-it-all offensive and special teams threat for the Tigers, but he even had college experience playing on the defensive side of the ball as a cornerback. McCloud was an honorable mention All-ACC performer as an all-purpose player, mainly because of his receiving and punt return abilities. He’s a huge threat with the ball in his hands. In fact, as a running back in high school in Tampa, McCloud ran for 1,933 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior, and 5,765 yards and 58 touchdowns for his career.

He chose to go to Clemson over other big-time programs that offered him a scholarship, like Alabama, Florida, and Auburn. While there, McCloud says Clemson didn’t have much to offer in the line of TV production. So he became a sociology major. But he certainly paid attention to the industry, and, of course, just like having favorite football players, he also has his favorite actors.

In no particular order, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, and Nick Cannon are at the top of McCloud’s list. Cannon was the actor he really started following at a young age, and even started to rattle off some of his favorite movies he’s starred in while we talked.

McCloud has even thought about doing some television work during his football career, but the gridiron comes first right now as he begins his rookie season - and will for a while. The big screen can wait. “Football is my first priority,” he said, even recognizing that any success he has on the field could help his future movie endeavors. “Movies are my second love. Football is my first, it’s always been football.”

That’s why McCloud’s not only working out in his hometown of Tampa to get ready for his first pro season, but also putting in time in Los Angeles with some close football-friends, including former Clemson teammate and current Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, as well as Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who’s part of the same rookie class as McCloud.  

McCloud’s hoping it's not the last time his talents take him to Hollywood.  

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