Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Darren Drozdov, NFL player turned pro wrestler, dies at 54

Darren Drozdov, who had a brief career as an NFL player and then became much more famous as a professional wrestler, has died at the age of 54.

Drozdov played college football at Maryland and made the Broncos as a defensive tackle in 1993, the only year he got on the field in the regular season. He also spent time with the Jets and Eagles, as well as in the CFL.

During the 1993 preseason, Drozdov got a measure of notoriety when he threw up on the football during a nationally televised game. Drozdov explained to reporters that vomiting was a problem he had no control over.

“I get sick a lot,” Drozdov said at the time. “I was a quarterback in high school, and I’d start throwing up on my center’s back. I don’t have a lot of control out there.”

After his pro football career ended, Drozdov’s bad stomach actually helped his career. He was featured in the wrestling documentary Beyond the Mat meeting Vince McMahon and throwing up in his office on command, as McMahon egged him on and called him by the nickname “Puke.”

But Drozdov’s pro wrestling career was cut short when he suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a WWF match. When another wrestler slammed Drozdov, he landed on his head and fractured two vertebrae. He never walked again.

Drozdov’s family released a statement today attributing his death to “natural causes.”