First Take

Omar Epps, star of ABC’s new show Resurrection, loves First Take debating

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Actor Omar Epps isn’t a stranger to redoing a scene. Last week, Epps did a “retake” of sorts when he made his second appearance on ESPN2’s daily morning show First Take (10 a.m. ET). When Epps first appeared on the show, Sept. 4, 2012, his day job was portraying a doctor on the television series “House.” Now he’s tackling a role as immigration agent J. Martin Bellamy on the new ABC drama Resurrection (Sundays, 9 p.m.).

Epps also has portrayed a variety of athletes: He was a college football player in his first sports-related film “The Program”; he replaced Wesley Snipes in the role of baseball star Willie Mays Hays in “Major League II”; and Epps was a college basketball/NBA player in “Love and Basketball.”

After debating with First Take’s Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith about LeBron James and NFL Draft prospect Johnny Manziel, Epps sat down with Front Row.

Are you as great of an athlete as you play on the movie screen?
I’m athletic, but I wouldn’t consider myself an athlete although I played football and did martial arts and boxing in high school.

Did you prepare differently for your second First Take appearance?
The same way I did the first time: Get up, get dressed and come here. I’m a sports fanatic, so we can discuss whatever. If I don’t know something, I don’t know it – if I don’t watch this team or that team – but we didn’t run up against that. I had a good time.

Do any of your friends in the entertainment business talk about ESPN and/or First Take?
My friends that are sports fans, yes. ESPN is like a [fan’s] Disney World. If you’re a sports fan you want to come here and have the whole experience. It’s pretty amazing.

What is your reaction to people saying you look like Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin? Are you a Steelers fan?
That’s what they say. He could probably be my old other brother [smiles]. At least I know if they make a movie about him I could play the role, if they get somebody else that’s just messed up. Respect to him, he’s doing his thing but I’m a lifelong [Dallas] Cowboys fans. Once the Steelers got that one championship more than us, it just became a deep-seated thing. We [Cowboys] have to get back on top.

Editor’s note: First Take host Cari Champion picks Omar Epps’ brain for more sports knowledge in the video below.

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