Accepting retirement isn't an easy feat for an athlete. They're not only losing what they've been so passionate about for all those years, but they're also losing the proactive training regimen that came with it. Most of these athletes had trainers that worked end over end to keep them in tip-top shape. Now, since that has been taken out of the equation, they're only left with the individual willpower and self-discipline to keep them motivated to stay cut and lean.
For many athletes, transitioning back to the pedestrian life can be brutal. They're not mandated to hit the weight room and jack their bodies up until they look like grapefruits anymore. Instead, they are faced with the reality that they no longer have to follow a strict diet anymore. Yep, that juicy triple cheeseburger with a large side of fries and a coke? It's all fair game now.
Because most athletes want to catch up on all the delicacies that they were forcefully avoiding during their careers, they end up splurging. This isn't to say that they didn't eat plenty before, but they were active. That's what kept them lean. Those daily practices burned most, if all, of the calories that they were consuming. With that out of the picture, their drive just disappears. It's safe to say that most retirees would rather spend time in front of the television than outside running suicides on a blistering day. It's just not going to happen.
This list covers retired athletes that put on more weight than they should have throughout the course of their retirement. Reasonably speaking, a retiree should no doubt enjoy their time off. They've earned it after all. But these athletes just took the phrase "larger than life" way too far.
15 Tonya Harding
Tonya Harding's infamous scandal with rival skater Nancy Kerrigan shook the nation when it first occurred back in 1994. After being stripped of her U.S. Championships title and being banned by the USFSA, the widely publicized ice skater resorted to a short-lived boxing career, which ended miserably.
14 JaMarcus Russell
Considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history, the former quarterback moved on to bigger and better things, like stuffing his face with Krispy Kreme donuts until he started to look like an offensive lineman. At least the guy is enjoying his retirement.
13 Scott Mitchell
The former unheralded quarterback was known for backing up legendary quarterback Dan Marino. Although his career never blossomed even under the tutelage of Marino, Mitchell still got to play with the likes of Barry Sanders, Rod Woodson, and even sat in with Don Shula during quarterback meetings.
12 Roger Clemens
The former MLB pitcher known as the "Rocket", had an illustrious, as well as controversial, career that defined who he is today. After exploding onto the scene in the mid-80s, Clemens was a force to be reckoned with. His valiant game-winning efforts almost made him a genuine hero if it weren't for his blood-boiling immeasurable attitude. The guy was a beast, and he was also in relatively good shape.
11 O.J. Simpson
Everybody knows the story of O.J. "The Juice" Simpson. Once heralded for his football skills is now incarcerated as we speak. Now, it's safe to say that "The Juice" pretty much let go of everything related to exercise, just look at his weight progression over the years. His pudgy appearance had plenty to do with his eating habits during his jail stints.
10 Ken Griffey Jr.
Griffey Jr's impact on the game of baseball was undeniably massive. The 13-time All-Star was a dominating force in his prime and is considered by many to be one of the greatest players to ever step on the baseball field. Besides, he has all the accolades to prove it.
9 Magic Johnson
The former Showtime-era great is doing some big things in his post-playing days. Everything from closing major business deals with his investing company to advocating for a cure for AIDS, Johnson's been more active than ever. Well, not exactly physically active.
8 Kevin Stevens
This name may not ring a bell for non-hockey fans. The former NHL forward was one of the faces of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the early-90s. Oh, and you can't possibly forget that decimating blow he took from Rich Pilon during the pivotal Game 7 of the '93 series. Ouch. The guy literally needed over 100 stitches to reconstruct his face.
7 Michael Jordan
The legendary shooting guard was in the best playing shape of his life during his prime years. The guy was not only a monster on the hardwood, but he was also dedicated to keeping himself in the best physical shape possible -- as evidenced by all the greatness he displayed during his career.
6 George Foreman
Historically speaking, boxers tend to gain weight throughout their careers. Sometimes it's to thrust them into the next weight class, or it could be for endurance purposes. Whatever the case, the extra muscle certainly doesn't hurt them, especially for "Big George" Foreman.
5 Diego Maradona
The retired Argentine footballer was known for his exceptional ball control, vision, and reflexes during his prime. He was also known for his relentless drug abuse during and after his career. It's remarkable that the man is still standing on his two feet after all that he went through.
There have been few footballers in the history of soccer that had what Maradona had. No, I'm not talking about the "speedy coffee" and the obesity scare, but his gift to carry an entire team on his shoulders. Seriously, in his prime, the guy was dominating the game. Upon his retirement at age 37, Maradona's weight started to increase rapidly due to all the abuse that his body took during his love affair with drugs. At one point, Maradona was so overweight that he was at risk of losing his life and was forced to undergo a gastric bypass operation -- now that's a scary thought.
Shaq was always known as being a hefty player during his 19 seasons. But, that played to his advantage throughout the course of his career as evidenced by his dominating paint presence that he displayed night-after-night.
3 Mike Scioscia
If you look at the manager great during his playing days, it's hard to believe that he looks the way that he does at his current weight. It's hard not to miss him in the dugout though. I mean, he kind of sticks out like a sore "gut".
2 Charles Barkley
Sir Charles, needless to say, was always a chubby wrecking ball throughout the entirety of his professional basketball career -- Auburn included. But after retiring back in 2000, it seems that Barkley just keeps adding to his already hefty frame.
1 William "The Refrigerator" Perry
There is a reason why Perry was given the nickname that we all know him by today. The former Chicago Bears defensive tackle was larger than life, and the best part about it was that he embraced it.
When he retired in 1996, things only started to go downhill. He struggled with his post-playing days and ended up skyrocketing up to 400 pounds. His bulldozing days as a situational fullback are from over. They've been replaced with binge eating and a lack of a diet. With the threat of morbid obesity looming over him in the coming years, here's to him getting back on track with a healthier lifestyle so he can flash that million-dollar smile with confidence again.
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