James Laurinaitis Is the Son of Late Road Warrior Animal — Facts about the Former NFL Player
WWE legend Joseph Michael Laurinaitis, best known by his ring name Road Warrior Animal, passed away aged 60. One of his children, James Laurinaitis, played in the NFL.
[James and Shelly Laurinaitis] are expecting their third kid
ROAD WARRIOR ANIMAL'S CAREER AND DEATH
For years, Animal and his partner Road Warrior Hawk (Michael Hegstrand) were among the most dominant tag teams in the wrestling industry, winning titles in the WWF, WCW, NWA, and even in Japan.
The Road Warriors, also known as the Legion of Doom, were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011, eight years after Hawk passed away from a heart attack aged 46.
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RIP brother. Really saddened to wake up to this news yesterday— the passing of my friend, Joe Laurinaitis (on the left) aka ROAD WARRIOR ANIMAL. Joe & Mike aka HAWK & ANIMAL, THE ROAD WARRIORS were the most intense, legit tough bad asses tag team in the history of the wild world of pro wrestling. When I was making my bones, still learning the business in the WWE as a very young “The Rock” - I wrestled these guys so many times on the road and they always took good care of me and made sure I learned. Tough as nails. Good men. Greatest tag team of all time. And apple fritters (our inside joke). Much love and I’ll always be grateful to you both. RIP. #animal #hawk #lod #whatarush
Road Warrior Animal's son, James Laurinaitis, also took to Instagram to share many photos of his late dad, followed by a heartfelt message in the caption.
RIP Animal,love you my brother, I know you and Hawk have a lot of unfinished business to take care of! God speed and blessings to your beautiful family,one love4Life. HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) September 23, 2020
In his post, Laurinaitis confessed to being "absolutely crushed" and missing his father already. He also admitted that he hated he couldn't say goodbye to the late wrestler. Laurinaitis added:
"Thank you for your love and support and the many lessons you've taught me. I can't believe you're gone. I love you Dad."
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💔 I don’t have the right words to say. I’m absolutely crushed. I miss you already. I hate that I wasn’t able to say goodbye. Say hello to Mum Mum, Pop Pop, and Hawk for me. Thank you for your love and support and the many lessons you’ve taught me. I can’t believe you’re gone. I love you Dad The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. - Psalm 34:18
JAMES LAURINAITIS' NFL CAREER
Speaking of James Laurinaitis, he used to be an animal, as well, only that he chose football fields over rings. While in college, Laurinaitis was one of the most promising defensive players in the country with impressive stats.
Even as a 4th-grader, Laurinaitis was "smoking kids," Animal once said. Despite his dominance, Animal always told his son to be a "class act" and help up the same players he had to tackle down.
All of Laurinaitis' hard work paid off as the St. Louis Rams picked him in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. For seven seasons, he was a significant member of the defensive line-up, starting all 16 games and tallying 100+ combined tackles per year.
However, at the end of Laurinaitis' seventh season in the NFL, he was transferred to the New Orleans Saints, where he was placed on injured reserve due to quad injury.
With the Saints, James Laurinaitis played only five games and made 17 tackles. In November 2017, the team waived him, and he was not able to find another team to play for.
After eight seasons, Laurinaitis retired. The then-30-year-old linebacker shared the news on social media, thanking the Rams for drafting him in the first place and the Saints for allowing him to play one more year.
JAMES LAURINAITIS' LIFE AFTER RETIRING
Laurinaitis has kept himself busy, though, as he has been working in media ever since retiring. He confessed that he wanted to either coach or cover football on TV and radio and that he chose a broadcasting career because it didn't require as much time as coaching. He added:
"There's a misperception as former players that just because you played the game, you can articulate it on TV, and that's just not the case. You have to prepare."
The retired NFL player confessed that coaching was still on his radar. He admitted that he would like to volunteer for a coaching position in high school if he has enough time to do it.
Laurinaitis added that coaching in the NFL was "in the back" of his mind, but since his children are still young, it is simply "not in the cards" yet.
Road Warrior Animal's son is currently married to Shelly Laurinaitis. The couple shares two daughters, London and Hayden, and are expecting their third kid.
At the moment, James Laurinaitis is part of the Big Ten Network and SiriusXM, hosting NFL and college football shows for both networks.