"BMF" Star and NFL Player Chester Rogers on Balancing Acting and Football: "I Like a Challenge"
In our Q&A series Last Call, we get down to the bottom of every last thing with some of our favorite celebs — from the last time they were starstruck to the last song they listened to. This week, "BMF" actor Chester "Tre" Rogers takes our call.
NFL player Chester "Tre" Rogers knows he's doing the impossible with his recurring role on Starz's "BMF." Last year, the 29-year-old Cleveland Browns wide receiver landed himself a part in the hit true crime drama, which returned for its second season on Jan. 6, as Sterling "Sterl" Black — head of the PAs (a local Detroit gang) and an ally to BMF. Rogers made his show debut in episode 203, "Devil's Night," and he says viewers will see a lot more of his character in season two as his and Meech's (Demetrius "Lil Meech" Flenory Jr.) relationship "becomes an intricate one throughout the show."
"This past year for me was the most difficult one — challenging I would say."
While Rogers is pretty active on the football field, he's no newbie to the acting game. He started his entertainment career at 10 years old, starring in early 2000s movie projects like "Constellation" with Gabrielle Union and Billy Dee Williams, "Dirty" with Cuba Gooding Jr., and Tyler Perry's "Madea's Family Reunion." Part of Rogers's 18-year break from the industry was due to his athletic career, but he tells POPSUGAR his "surreal 'BMF'" opportunity arose during his offseason after the 2022 playoffs.
"Honestly, it's a crazy story," he says. While randomly out to eat with his family, Rogers connected with a show producer whom he sent his résumé. He thought nothing of the encounter afterward — until he got an email two weeks later. "I'm in Houston with my son — it's like nine, 10 o'clock at night — I look at my email and I have an audition from a casting director," he recalls. "I dropped everything at that moment and got back on the earliest flight the next day to Atlanta. I had 48 hours to audition. Mind you, it's been 18 years since I've ever did anything [because] I've been playing football. So I had 48 hours to prepare, and I nailed it."
Booking a role on "BMF" reopened the door on Rogers's acting career, but he knew balancing it with football would be a tough task. "This past year for me was the most difficult one — challenging I would say," he shares. "Mentally and physically because I finished the playoffs [in 2022 and] two minutes later, I'm on set for six months working 12- to 14-hour days filming this amazing TV show. And I have to also figure out a way to keep my diet on point, work out, and get on the field."
Rogers reveals that he turned down the chance to sign with 10 different NFL teams just so he could finish filming "BMF." Even still, he almost immediately went right back to training for the next season only a few weeks after the show wrapped. "It's never been done before," he adds. "I don't really know how I'm doing it. It's through the grace of God and just a lot of sacrificing. I can't give 100 percent to everything in my life, which is probably the most challenging thing, but [I'm] doing it. It's been done. The season just finished. 'BMF' is out."
Despite the exhausting grind of football and acting, Rogers is confident in his ability to see both paths through. "I like a challenge," he notes. "I like when people doubt me — it just gives me extra motivation. I also knew that it would give motivation to people out there like, look, whatever it is that you want to do in life, do it. Don't let someone put you in a box. I applaud people like LeBron James, who has his whole campaign, 'More Than an Athlete.' That touches me in so many different ways because that's who I am . . . I just wanted to be the first to do it; to show people you can do whatever it is you want. That's what keeps me going."
While it's still too early to tell if Rogers's "BMF" character will return for the show's now-confirmed third season, he says he had a blast bonding with his season two costars, including Rayan Lawrence (who plays K-9, aka "the new villain") and Russell Hornsby (Flenory patriarch Charles), who he says is "one of my favorite actors." "We had a lot of conversations. I remember the first time he really engaged with me; he gave me four different books that you need as an actor and sat there and talked to me for like 45 minutes, and he had to do that on his break in between shooting," Rogers shares. "But he really embraced me. He saw something in me the first night that he saw me shoot in Detroit, and he was like, 'Look man, if this is something you really want to do, we need to talk.'"
Rogers also shared how fun it was sharing a set with vets like Snoop Dogg (who reprises his role as Pastor Swift) and Mo'Nique (who joins as Atlanta strip-club owner Goldie), the latter of whom he teased that he has a scene with later in the season. "To be able to see her in action . . . she's a legend," Rogers says. "I crossed paths with Snoop Dogg, [too] . . . just to see these legends in real life, it's crazy for sure."
Beyond "BMF," Rogers says that he's interested in furthering his acting career with roles in projects that tell "real stories." "I love being able to illustrate real characters," he shares. "Doing [period] pieces, I love the wardrobe and I love bringing those stories to real life, so I'm interested in doing more of those. I would love to do some action, [too]. I got a lot of action scenes in this season — and I did all of my stunts, by the way."
The actor remains tight-lipped on "BMF" season two spoilers but confirms the surprises that have popped up so far will definitely continue. "It's going to be a lot of twists and turns, a lot of drama, a lot of action," he teases. "We getting way more in-depth into these characters as y'all see them evolve. So, yeah, just buckle your seatbelts and get ready for the ride."
Read ahead for the rest of Rogers's Last Call interview.
What was your last day of filming "BMF" season two like?
It was bittersweet. Six months coming to an end. It was like the last day of school. I was sad.
Who is the last "BMF" costar you hung out with?
All of them. Well, not all of them, but last night, Myles [Truitt] had a private screening, so we was there. Me, Da'Vinchi, Yusef [Thomas], Lil' Zane. We were all together at The Gathering Spot.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
I've been around [stars] since I was 9 and 10, so it's hard to do that. I haven't been starstruck in a while, but I'll give it to Snoop [Dogg].
What's the last album you listened to?
I've been on Lil' Baby. That's one of my favorite rappers, so his [last] album for sure, "It's Only Me."
What was the last TV show you watched?
"The Best Man: The Final Chapters." I still got to finish it, but I'm like halfway through.
What's the last photo in your camera roll?
A flyer for my birthday bash.
What's the last thing you did for fun?
I watched the fight [between Gervonta Davis and Hector Luis Garcia]. I'm a big boxing fan. That was the last fun thing I did.
What is the last trip you went on?
[I went to] Los Angeles.
What is the last gift you received?
It was Christmas. I think I got some shoes.
What is the last piece of advice you received that changed your life?
We were basically getting ready for the "BMF" premiere process, and everything was all over the place, but the advice was just stay ready, so you ain't got to get ready. Just always be prepared, so we can prevent certain things. That's definitely some advice I live by.