Raiders player lands role in upcoming Cuba Gooding Jr. movie

Ameer Abdullah has been asked to do just about everything in the NFL.

He’s run over defenders twice his size. He’s collided full speed with opposing punt returners. He’s taken back kickoffs. It’s allowed him to play nine years in the league, including the last two with the Raiders.

But Abdullah is about to take on a role that will leave him more vulnerable than any he’s played on a football field. He’s landed a part alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. and Vivica A. Fox in the urban drama “Break The Cycle,” which begins production next month in Memphis, Tennessee.

The movie centers around two brothers whose lives are impacted by a tragic incident that pushes them in different directions. One brother, Jay, is an NBA-caliber basketball player who holds the hopes of the entire family. The pull of Jay’s brother Eddie, who is entrenched in the street, casts a shadow on Jay’s future.

Abdullah plays the role of K-Money, a street king who runs the neighborhood and wants to recruit Eddie deeper into the hood life.

“I’m excited for the world to see this side of me,” Abdullah said.

This isn’t Abdullah’s first foray into the visual arts. He’s dabbled in photography, cinematography, script writing, directing, and producing short films. But this is his first crack at acting, which he believes is the “toughest” part to play in the film industry.

Abdullah, 30, is eager for the challenge of bringing a written character to life.

“You’re literally transforming your persona into somebody else and making it believable,” Abdullah said. “And doing that time and time again is tough to do. So, I have a lot of respect for actors.”

Abdullah finds plenty of parallels between his athletic and artistic career. He learned he became more valuable to teams once he learned what everyone’s responsibilities on the field were and understood what each offensive play was designed to do.

That’s why he’s focused on learning the film industry from every angle. That helps him better understand the process of making something come to life on screen.

“Bringing all of those different skill sets together has really allowed me to diversify myself as a professional in the film space,” Abdullah said. “I’m still a baby at this. I’m still crawling. There’s so much for me to learn.”

Abdullah’s goal is for the arts to be the next chapter of his life. His experience as a pro athlete also helps him remember success is not a given.

“The film industry can be very humbling, so just jumping into it and thinking you’re automatically going to be successful … it doesn’t always work out that way,” Abdullah said.

The part of K-Money is close to Abdullah’s heart.

He believes the world of “Break The Cycle” has some similarities to his upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama. Abdullah is a different person since leaving for the University of Nebraska. But he can reach into his past to help him portray the role.

“I talk a lot differently now. I present myself a lot differently now,” Abdullah said. “But when it comes to getting into this character, I’m pretty confident that I’m going to mold and gel really well with this role.”

Abdullah can also relate to K-Money’s vulnerabilities, like the pain of losing friends and family members to the streets. He’ll carry those experiences with him to the movie’s set.

“I have an opportunity to express their stories with my artistic approach to this role,” Abdullah said. “I’m really eager for it, because it can be therapeutic for me, too. Sometimes I do want to yell and curse like a K-Money. I’ve had things that I feel were ripped away from me, in terms of opportunities in my career and opportunities in my personal life, with former partners. So bringing a lot of those things out to the forefront, through this character development, I think is going to be challenging but also really fun.”

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