HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Former NFL star Jon Dorenbos has transitioned from the gridiron to the stage, but his magic show is more than sleight of hand.
The professional magician, who brought his 90-minute showcase to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Saturday, said magic has helped him overcome challenges throughout his life.
“I’m not the magician that’s like, ‘Hey, I’m magic, look at me.’ I’m not that guy,” he said. “For me, in a time in my life when I was lost as a kid, magic was just cool. It was an outlet, and it was just cool and fun, and I hope that’s what people say about my show.”
The show takes audiences on Dorenbos’ journey. The 38-year-old said he started doing card tricks at a time most children his age would have lost faith in just making it through another day.
“My father murdered my mother when I was 12, and I went to a temporary foster home for about a year and a half, and then my aunt adopted me,” he said. “It was a time in my life when I was torn up, and I was trying to put myself back together, and literally, as I went through life, at different phases of my life when I was growing, I was into different things artistically, so I tell that story in that journey and how basically magic pulled me through.”
Dorenbos played college football. Undrafted, he played 15 seasons in the NFL as a long snapper.
The two-time Pro Bowler played his final 11 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Dorenbos said magic has always been an ice-breaker with his teammates.
“We were interacting in a way that wasn’t football … we were people laughing,” he said.
In the summer of 2017, the Eagles traded Dorenbos to the New Orleans Saints. During the preseason. Saints doctors conducting a routine physical found an aneurysm that required immediate open-heart surgery.
“I was never scared of dying because I didn’t think I was,” he said. “I was scared for my wife. I was scared for the situation and what we were about to go through, and the change in life, whatever that was going to be, because it was unknown.”
What is clear to Dorenbos is that he lives to entertain and inspire.
“Now we can do huge theaters, and people show up. Like, dude, it’s rock star,” he said. “With that will come a lot of responsibility. All of a sudden you get a name, all of a sudden you get a voice. What do you want to say? Boom, big responsibility. I never forget that.”
Dorenbos said one of his more humbling moments came in June 2018, when the Eagles, months after having won the Super Bowl, gave him a ring.
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