Now for Jesse's next act ...

ANN MARIE McQUEEN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

Jesse Palmer calls his first acting role "a real stretch."

The Ottawa native and currently out-of-work quarterback has a cameo role on tonight's episode of NBC's Law & Order: SVU.

"I'm an athlete," Palmer told the Sun yesterday. "I'm a baseball player."

Palmer couldn't say much else about the part, other than it required him to say less than 10 lines of dialogue and was filmed on New York City's Upper West Side last winter with Chris Meloni, who joins Mariska Hargitay playing the show's lead detectives.

The episode centres around a designer baby ring, featuring guest spots by Lynda Carter, Estella Warren and Mark McGrath.

Despite his own brief camera time, Palmer said it still took about five hours to film.

"You really kind of get to appreciate the whole 'hurry up and wait' thing,"he said.

Palmer said the part basically fell in his lap after he covered the Super Bowl as a guest analyst for Rogers Sportsnet.

His pal Thea Andrews, the Toronto-born co-host of ESPN Hollywood, knew someone who wanted him on the show. Agent Peter Schaffer took it from there and now Palmer thinks acting wouldn't make a half-bad fallback career.

"It was really exciting and I really enjoyed it," he said. "I wouldn't mind doing it when I'm done playing football."

But for now, it's still football Palmer has his heart set on. Since the New York Giants cut him earlier this month, the Renegades have been in negotiations to get Palmer's CFL rights from the Montreal Alouettes and bring him home.

KEEPING IN SHAPE

All Palmer would say is he's keeping in shape and hoping for the best.

"I think something's going to happen soon, somewhere."

One thing he won't be doing is joining the ranks of C-listers on shows like The Surreal Life, despite his 2004 turn on ABC's The Bachelor.

"It's funny, you see all these people who do all these reality shows, two or three of them," he said. "I already have a surreal life."

He's also not in a hurry to get married, and quickly puts his mini Bachelor relationship -- he split with chosen candidate Jessica Bowlin a month after the finale aired -- in perspective with a crack about his current love life.

"I'm going to be a priest the way I'm going," he said. "It's been four years and counting."

Tonight's episode of Law & Order: SVU airs at 10 p.m.


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