Mehcad Brooks plays a football player with anger issues in the popular USA network series Necessary Roughness. Brooks knows a bit about the game — his father was once an NFL player. “I don’t remember a lot of the NFL stuff, but I do remember how it affected the lifestyle that sort of athlete mentality of being invincible," he told Uinterview exclusively. "It affected my family, so I was able to get a lot of stories.”

Born and raised in Austin, Tex., Brooks played football while in junior high school and high school. He played basketball for a while before quitting but turning down several basketball scholarships choosing instead to follow a career in acting. Brooks appeared in season two of the popular HBO series True Blood. He's also earned a devoted following or his stint as a Calvin Klein underwear model.

In the season finale airing on Wednesday, Necessary Roughness tackles the issue of homophobia in the NFL. Brooks, for one, thinks it's about time an NFL star came out. “You’re going to have critics, you’re going to have people who are immature,” he told Uinterview, “but screw them, because that’s your truth, that’s your life and you have to live it fully.”

Necessary Roughness season finale airs on Feb. 20 at 10/9c on USA Network.

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Q: Your father was a football player. How did that affect your performance in this role? Did it give you any insight into your character? - Uinterview

Yeah, quite a bit actually. His number is exactly the same as mine [on the show], so that's kind of interesting. The same position and everything. It’s kind of crazy. My parents were divorced when I was five. I don’t really remember a lot of the NFL stuff, but I do remember that sort of athlete mentality of being invincible and not having to [mature]. This sort of affected my family, so I was able to get a lot of stories. Basically, it doesn’t matter what time period you’re in, there’re always going to be a franchise of wide receivers who are acting badly.

Q: Did you grow up playing football? - Uinterview

I did. I quit in high school for basketball, but I grew up playing football in high school and junior high school.

Q: On an upcoming episode of the show, you get to take ballet classes as part of your therapy. Have you ever studied dance before or was this a totally new experience for you? - Uinterview

It was really strange. It was actually hard to be bad at it because I’m actually quite a great ballet dancer. I am kidding! [laughs] It was interesting, I have a lot of respect for dancers. What they can do with their bodies, just their endurance level, their agility. I am actually quite familiar with a couple of football players who have actually taken ballet. I completely understand it. If you’re in theater, you know how to fall. If you’re on stage, you know how to stage fight. How to protect your voice — you do things that will save your throat. You have to know these things because it will keep you fresh for longer. It’s the same thing with ballet and football, but it was interesting and it was fun. Other than that, it’s not really for me. I’d rather watch it.

Q: In one of the big plotlines coming up on the show, your captain is wrestling with coming out. When will the NFL have a gay star? - Uinterview

I want to see it happen. Obviously, there are guys who are in the closet in professional sports. There’s a community of men, and, in that large male population, there has to be some gay and bisexual players in the NFL and or in the NBA. I know a couple of guys who are in the league and they’ll talk about having a gay teammate who’s open to them in the locker room. There’s just nobody out in public yet. So I think that we’re going to see somebody coming out. Hopefully we’ll see a few cases soon and back him up.

Q: Do you think that person will have a lot of blowback from his teammates? - Uinterview

Honestly, yeah, you’re going to have critics. You’re going to have people who are immature. You’re going to have people who are angry, but screw them because that’s your truth, that’s your life. You have to live it fully. Honestly, I think that is the way the country is today, compared to four or five years ago. Ten years ago, I don’t think that this person would have so much support, but I think today they would be a hero. I truly believe that.

Q: What's been your favorite moment or favorite scene from this season? - Uinterview

I love my job. There are three or four episodes that I was really excited to do that were really challenging and they’re really fun. The turkey hunting scene was really fun, or the scene where I change my view point in the locker room — I start giving my favorite speech about being who you are, and you’re born that way. Once again, it’s not a choice, so I think that for me as an actor that was a great scene to really pull from. All the football scenes are really fun.

Q: You’re known as being a very fit actor. Do you have a fitness routine that you follow? - Uinterview

Other than genetic luck, you know, you either win the lottery or you don’t, which I am very lucky. I understand that, and I don’t take it for granted. Trust me, it’s great. Other than that, which is a big part of it, the other part is just working your butt off, man. I trained with an Olympic athlete and other football players [for the show].

Q: How did you train differently for True Blood compared to Necessary Roughness? - Uinterview

I just try to make sure that I aim for a shape and look the part. The character I was in True Blood was obviously a pretty big guy. I wanted to be big and I worked out. In this one, I had to try to be thinner. I’m working a lot more. I ended up having to fast every seven days.

Q: No food the whole day? - Uinterview

On the eighth day, I’d just drink water and tea.

Q: You were famously a Calvin Klein underwear model. What was that experience like and do you still have a connection with them? - Uinterview

Yeah, I’m still very cool with the whole company. They’re great people, they’re like a corporate family. They’re laid back. I can stop by the office and they’re great, they are just amazing people. The actual campaign was such a dream for me. So I just sort of just worked hard to try to go for that and one day I was talking to my manager at the premiere of True Blood actually. I said, 'I think I have an 8 pack in that. I think you can give this to Calvin Klein!’ He was like, ‘You know what, I think you’re right.” We actually went after them!