As the highest paid actor in Hollywood, Dwayne Johnson gets tongues wagging.

The man popularly known as The Rock has divulged he used to get tongues flailing involuntarily as a makeshift extraction expert during his college football career.

Speaking in a cover story for Sports Illustrated, Johnson has given a graphic insight into his career as a failed NFL aspirant.

The 44-year-old explains in the story how his failure as a professional athlete sparked his ride to the top of Tinseltown.


But, what stands out even more is the sheer terror his teammates at Pennsylvania's Freedom High School and then the University of Miami must have felt knowing this man was supposedly a teammate.

Having decided his only avenue to a successful future was in playing professional football, Johnson dedicated himself almost exclusively to delivering big plays on the field.

That dream - his only dream - disappeared in an instant.

A blown left shoulder - which required surgery - in the final days of his first preseason with the Miami Hurricanes was just the first injury in a long line of devastating blows that ruined what Johnson's former Miami defensive line coach Ed Orgeron says could have been an "All-American" season.

That's when the anger - which had always been there - took the upper hand in it's wrestle with his temperament.

Poor teammate Kevin Patrick just happened to throw some sass Johnson's way when the hulking defensive tackle was in a bad mood. A very bad mood.

"I was always running hot because I wasn't getting the playing time that I thought I deserved," Johnson told Sports Illustrated about his college career.

"Me and Kevin were in a coach's office and he was talking s*** as always.

"But this time I just lost it. It was like a movie fight - the desk got turned over, stuff was flying all over the place. We spilled out onto the weight room floor, still going at it.

"He wouldn't stop talking, so I decided to pull his tongue out. I stuffed my big ol' hand into his mouth, and I had a couple of fingers around his tongue, but it was so damn slippery!

"I was quite serious about pulling it out, but I couldn't quite get a hold of it. Eventually I gave up, the fight ended, and two minutes later we were hugging each other. It was so dumb."

The injuries and lack of game time saw him miss out on a contract at the 1995 NFL draft.

He was picked up by the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League and was sacked two months later.

He was at rock bottom.

For everything he had achieved in football, he had nothing to show for it.

This failure created the hunger that drove his career in entertainment and formed a big part of The Rock persona that transcended the WWE.

He is now the highest paid actor in Hollywood, according to a Forbes analysis of his $64.5 million in total acting wages for this year.

He has 57 million fans on Facebook, more than 10 million followers on Twitter and an Instagram audience of 71.5 million.

Sports Illustrated reports his movies in the past two years have grossed more than $2.2 billion.

He was also recently named People Magazine's sexiest man alive.

He missed out on his NFL dream, but got to live everybody else's wildest dreams.

His popularity across sport and Hollywood has already prompted suggestions of a move into politics - and he says he's "very serious" about heading down that path in the future as a registered Republican.

Those tongues are just going to keep wagging.