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Keith Loneker (1971 - 2017)

Getty Images / Jeff Vespa

Keith Loneker (1971 - 2017)

Keith Loneker, a former NFL offensive lineman who became a character actor in nearly a dozen films, died of cancer Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Lawrence, Kansas, according to multiple news sources. He was 46.

Loneker, who was born June 21, 1971, in Roselle Park, New Jersey, played on a football scholarship at the University of Kansas. His athletic prowess helped the Jayhawks win the Aloha Bowl in 1992, and he garnered first-team All-Big Eight honors.

Undrafted after graduation, he joined the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams in 1993 as a walk-on player. He was with the Rams from 1993 to 1995. He also played for the Atlanta Falcons in 1996. During his NFL career, he played in 19 games, five as a starting player.

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While still in the NFL, a former teammate suggested that Loneker try acting. After making and submitting a video, Loneker was cast as the character White Boy Bob in the 1998 Steven Soderbergh film “Out of Sight.” From there, he went on to play roles in “Rock Star” (2001), “Superbad” (2007), “Leatherheads” (2008), and “Lakeview Terrace,” a 2008 thriller. At 6 feet 4 inches, Loneker’s imposing physical presence proved perfect for playing thug-type roles.

Jon Niccum, a screenwriter who knew Loneker from their work together on a number of movies, once told The Kansas City Star that the former pro football player delved into acting headfirst.

“He was really serious about doing this as his second career,” said Niccum. ”He’s captivating. He’s just got a real good mix of charisma and work ethic.”

When Loneker wasn’t auditioning for parts, he taught high school as a substitute at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Kansas.

Loneker is survived by a son, Keith Loneker Jr., who is a junior linebacker on the University of Kansas football team, and a daughter, Kylee.

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