Tony Gonzalez
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Former NFL All-Pro Tony Gonzalez has joined the cast of Vin Diesel’s “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.”

Paramount announced last week that it had set a Jan. 20, 2017, release date.

The film, produced by Revolution Studios, Roth Kirschenbaum Films and Diesel’s One Race Film, is directed by from a script by Chad St. John, with current revisions by F. Scott Frazier.

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Diesel starred in the original 2002 “XXX,” directed by Rob Cohen, as underground sports star Xander Cage, who was blackmailed by the U.S. government to take down a gang of international terrorists. The film, released by Sony, performed well with $277 million worldwide.

Diesel was not part of the sequel, with Ice Cube playing the lead role in 2005’s “xXx: State of the Union,” which grossed $71 million worldwide for Sony. Lee Tamahori directed the second film.

The third film follows Diesel’s character as he comes out of self-imposed exile to recover a sinister and seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora’s Box. Indian actress Deepika Padukone will play the female lead opposite Diesel, joining Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Donnie Yen and Samuel L. Jackson.

This marks the feature film debut for Gonzalez, a former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons All-Pro tight end and current CBS Sports analyst.

Gonzalez’s NFL career spanned 17 years, 12 with Kansas City after being the team’s first-round pick in 1997, and five with Atlanta before his retirement in 2013.

He is represented by CAA, manager Constance Schwartz of SMAC and attorney Arash Khalili from Loeb & Loeb.

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