* BROOKLYN NINE-NINE. Special airing 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Fox 29. Moving to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays beginning next week.

SEVENTEEN years after leaving the NFL - where his six-year career ended with a brief stint as a Philadelphia Eagle - actor Terry Crews is going to the Super Bowl.

And not just with the Muppets.

Among the Game Day ads posted this week on YouTube is one for Toyota in which a furry mob essentially carjacks Crews and takes him for the ride of his life.

Stick around after the game and you can see more of the actor, whose Fox series, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," along with "New Girl," scored the post-Bowl spot.

The cop comedy features Andy Samberg as a detective who's a little too smart for his own good. Crews plays Sgt. Terry Jeffords, who helps Andre Braugher's Capt. Ray Holt run the precinct.

In Sunday's episode, "we decide that we're going to do a little bit of housecleaning and really make it run a little bit smoother, but in a very, very hilarious way," said Crews in an interview this month at the Television Critics Association's winter meetings.

Crews - who also planned to be at the game - said he never thought this was how he'd end up at the Super Bowl.

But he also never thought he'd be an actor, he said. "My wife was the actress," and he was "trying to get [work] behind the scenes" when a friend brought him to an audition and "the first thing I auditioned for, I got."

It was a syndicated show called "Battle Dome," where "they threw you in a cage and I had to battle three guys," he said. "I was like this big wrestler guy named T-Money. After that, I was hooked.

"We were sending people to the hospital. Honey, it was brutal. But that was my first experience in entertainment and I was like, 'I like this. I can do this.' And then I had to learn what I was doing."

Learning on the job has been Crews' aim ever since, which is why we've seen him in everything from "Everybody Hates Chris" and HBO's "The Newsroom" to those Old Spice commercials where his muscular chest became its own character.

"You get better at working by working," Crews said. "And if you don't work, you're not getting better. I tell everybody, it's like 'Do YouTube. Do whatever you've got to do.' . . . I am not going to stop working. You know this. I have six movies coming out next year, the show, the whole thing. I'm getting better. And I see it and I love it and I feel my skills [are] improving. And I always want to stay open, open to all the new opportunities."

Which doesn't mean that he was open to freezing any body parts if the New Jersey-hosted Super Bowl proved too cold for comfort.

"I'm going to try to find a box to squeeze into," he said. "Sponge off some of my rich celebrity friends."

'Barrymore' in profile

You know you've led a hard life when an actor in his 80s can credibly play you at 60.

Actor John Barrymore - who was born in Philadelphia in 1882 and who returned here in 1980 when his ashes were moved to his family's plot at Mount Vernon Cemetery - died in 1942.

Scion of an illustrious acting family (and, yes, Drew Barrymore's grandfather), he returns to life tonight in "Barrymore" on PBS' "Great Performances" (9 p.m., WHYY12), courtesy of Christopher Plummer.

Plummer, 84, who won a Tony for his Broadway performance as the alcoholic actor trying to ready himself for an artistic comeback in what would turn out to be the final months of his life, deplored the "great waste" that was Barrymore's life during a PBS session at TCA, noting that he himself has gotten to play "so many more parts, great parts than Barrymore ever got a chance to do."

But though Plummer never met Barrymore, he does credit him with inspiring his career.

He told reporters that, at 14, he read a biography of Barrymore, who "was so glamorous to me. He was so handsome and such a great actor and at the same time a wonderful boozer. I thought, 'Oh, God, what a great profession this is. I want to be in it. I mean, you can please the ladies and also get drunk every night. What a great, great profession.' "

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