John Matuszak

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John Matuszak
No. 78, 79, 72
Position: Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1950-10-25)October 25, 1950
Place of birth: Oak Creek, Wisconsin
Date of death: June 17, 1989(1989-06-17) (aged 38)
Place of death: Los Angeles, California
Career information
College: Tampa
NFL draft: 1973 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played–started: 123–78
Fumble recoveries: 7
Touchdowns: 1
Player stats at

John Daniel "Tooz" Matuszak (October 25, 1950 – June 17, 1989) was an American football defensive end in the National Football League who later became an actor. He was the first draft pick of 1973 and played most of his career with the Oakland Raiders until he retired after winning his second Super Bowl in 1981. Matuszak participated in the 1978 World's Strongest Man competition, where he placed ninth. As an actor, he played the deformed Sloth in the 1985 movie The Goonies and Tonda in Caveman. His biography, Cruisin' with the Tooz, written with Steve Delsohn was published in 1987. He had a premature death caused by an accidental propoxyphene overdose.[1] There were also traces of cocaine found in the blood stream.[2]

Football career[edit]

Matuszak, drafted by the Houston Oilers of the NFL, was the first draft pick of 1973. In addition to his contract with the Oilers, he joined the Houston Texans of the World Football League, but played a total of seven plays before a restraining order that was served to him during a game that barred him from playing for two teams at the same time. Matuszak said he had no plans to play in that game but requested to play after seeing 25 or so men looking for him on the sidelines. He didn't know what was happening at the time and wanted to avoid confrontation. The Oilers, displeased that he tried joining the WFL, traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played until 1975. Then he found himself with the Raiders in 1976 after being released in pre-season by the Washington Redskins. He helped the Raiders win two Super Bowls (XI and XV) before retiring after spending the entire 1982 season on injured reserve.

His football career was often overshadowed by his even more famous use of drugs.[citation needed] In his autobiography, he stated that he took many painkillers as well as other narcotics while playing professional football. Because of this, an article written for Sports Illustrated's website in January 2005 named him one of the top five all-time "bad boys" of the NFL.[3] Although his performances made him one of the best Raider defenders of all time, his volatile actions contributed to him not being popular with teammates and not being in Al Davis's favour.[citation needed]


Matuszak became a fairly successful actor in the 1980s, making appearances in movies and on television, often portraying football players or gentle giants. His first major role was in the 1979 movie North Dallas Forty as a football player. He appeared in the movies Caveman, The Ice Pirates, One Man Force, and One Crazy Summer, but is frequently remembered as deformed captive Sloth in The Goonies, the make-up for which took five hours to apply.[4] Matuszak's character Sloth wears an Oakland Raiders shirt in some scenes. He had numerous guest appearances in TV shows such as Perfect Strangers, M*A*S*H, The Dukes of Hazzard, Hunter, Silver Spoons, The A-Team, 1st & Ten, Miami Vice and Cheers.


  1. ^ "Matuszak's Death Caused By Accidental Overdose". The New York Times. 28 June 1989. 
  2. ^ Notopoulos, Katie. "Here is the Butt of Sloth from "the Goonies"". BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  3. ^ Sports Illustrated article on the 'top five' NFL Bad Boys
  4. ^ "John Matuszak". IMDb. 

External links[edit]