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Back in acting, Terry Bradshaw reveals another side of himself

NEW YORK -- Psst. Wanna see Terry Bradshaw naked?

What's that, you say? Should be good for a laugh, if you don't turn into a pillar of salt afterward?

That's OK with Bradshaw. As usual, he did it to crack you up.

Bradshaw bares all in ''Failure to Launch," in which he costars with Oscar winner Kathy Bates as the parents of a 35-year-old man (Matthew McConaughey) who's still living at home. They're reduced to hiring a woman (Sarah Jessica Parker) to seduce their son and induce him to leave.

Once he's out, his room becomes Dad's Naked Room.

''Not that I got a lot to show off here. But I really thought, and I think I'm right," Bradshaw says, ''you seeing my butt is a shocker."

In an interview, Bradshaw offers the same high-energy, easy-to-laugh persona sports fans enjoy on television -- until the bombast and ostensible buffoonery give way to a contemplative 57-year-old man baring his soul.

It's been a quarter-century since the former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback appeared in ''Smokey and the Bandit II" and ''The Cannonball Run," playing himself or a variation of himself. He took the part in ''Failure to Launch" after initially turning it down -- and stipulating that he would play a ''low-key guy."

Tom Dey, the film's director, says: ''This turned out to be one of those times when you have a hunch about casting and it works out even better than you could have imagined."

Bradshaw has signed on for one other movie gig, and that's only because Oscar-winning screenwriter Billy Bob Thornton told him he's writing a dramatic scene especially for him.

Bradshaw says it was hard to be taken seriously as an actor 25 years ago, after being a football star.

''I actually wanted to be accepted, and I wanted to learn the craft of acting, the techniques -- and told the agents that I found, 'I don't want big roles. I don't deserve big roles. I want to earn it, like the others do: Study . . . do little scenes.' "

He wanted to build a resume, ''but I never could get to first base, and so that's why I quit."

The former football star has certainly rounded the bases in other ways, gaining popularity in sportscasting, first on CBS and now on Fox, after winning four Super Bowls with the Steelers.

Bradshaw, who lives in a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas, is signed to do ''NFL Fox Sunday" for six more years. He also raises quarter horses in Oklahoma and hopesto ''eventually downsize" and spend a few months each year in Hawaii.

Born into a farming family, the Shreveport, La., native once thought he wanted to be an evangelist. ''But early in my life, too, everything impressed me," he says. ''[I was] very conscious of heaven and hell and being saved. . . . Too easily influenced by everything.

''I really didn't have an independent side of me, as I do now. I'm real confident at this point of my life. But for the most part in my life, I haven't been a real confident person about anything -- too eager to please, too eager to go along with, do what everybody else wanted to do . . . and you do that primarily to be accepted. I don't really care about being accepted now. I wish I had been like that earlier."

Bradshaw openly talks about being diagnosed with clinical depression and ADHD -- a combo, he says, that ''makes for a pretty screwed-up dude."

He's been through ''tons of therapy" and Paxil CR has worked for him, but he's been off it for eight months -- which has led to some recent headaches, chest pains, rapid pulse, and shortness of breath.

What makes him happiest, he says, is two weeks of ''doin' nothin' " -- which entails enjoying his house and four dogs, spending time with his brothers, playing golf, and fishing with his dad. ''Just being a bum, just being lazy," he explains. ''I love that."

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