NFL players need to have a great amount of strength, agility and power. Often the great football players are bigger, heavier, and much stronger than the average man. This helps create unstoppable offensive and defensive lines. These men train their whole lives to accomplish the NFL dream and be the best they can be.
In many cases, the football player is asked to gain or lose a certain amount of weight. If a player is “6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 280 pounds, he could be considered too big for the “skill positions” and too small for the line. Therefore, a lot of the time they must adapt to specialized training programs in order to meet those goals.
Some of the larger players struggle to keep their weight down once they start gaining it. A lot of NFL stars find after they’ve retired from the game and are no longer forced to endure those heavy-duty work outs, they began to rapidly gain unwanted and unhealthy weight. These players are identified as men who “let themselves go.”
Other football players realize they no longer need to be large enough to take a big tackle, so they take the other route and lose huge amounts of weight, often to a point where they are no longer recognizable. The former football stars are judged whether they become overweight or lose the weight. It’s a struggle most stars face after leaving the spotlight. Here are 15 NFL stars with a whole lot more to love.
15 Tony Siragusa
In the 1990s, Tony Siragusa was one of the cant-stop, don’t-mess with NFL players. Siragusa joined the Indianapolis Colts as defensive tackle, weighing in at 350lbs. After having some major hate for the new Colts coach, he signed on with the Baltimore Ravens in 1997. Siragusa was a part of the unstoppable defense that allowed the fewest points in the history of NFL 16-game seasons. At one point, Siragusa was charged with at $10,000 fine for an illegal hit on the Raiders’ quarterback that badly injured his shoulder.
The big man didn’t leave the NFL even after his playing career ended. Siragusa was a sideline reporter for Fox Network until the end of the 2015 NFL season. He lives a fairly normal life with a wife and kids, but he never really managed to lose his monstrous size.
14 William Perry
William “The Refrigerator” Perry was one of the most likable NFL players of his time. Perry played for the Chicago Bears in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles during his last year with the NFL in 1994. Perry was always a big boy, exclaiming that when he was just 11-years-old he weighed in at 200 lbs. When Perry started for the NFL in 1985, he weighed over 300 lbs. Once a sportscaster described him as, “the best use of fat since the invention of bacon.”
Nowadays there are quite a few football players larger than Perry, but back in his prime time, a football player of his size and strength was rare. After his retirement, as his age progressed, Perry began having a lot of health problems, including alcoholism and diabetes. At 55-years-old, The Refrigerator weighs about 450 lbs, and spends most of his time drinking in his Hummer.
13 Vince Wilfork
Vince Wilfork played nose tackle in the NFL for 12 years. During the beginning of his career, the 326-pound force was criticized for playing “not to get hurt.” He grew into his teams, though, and went on to become a two-time Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro Bowl player.
In 2016, Wilfork posed on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Body Issue completely nude. He did so to showcase people are bigger-boned and shouldn’t be ashamed. He explained that he is just a big guy naturally and has 100 percent accepted his body for how it is. Wilfork knows some people consider him obese, and sloppy, but it’s important that he loves himself. He likes to showoff where he isn’t struggling; his calves, back, biceps and shoulders are all very fit. The only thing this nose tackle doesn’t have is a six pack, and he is quite okay with that.
12 Eddie Lacy
Eddie Lacy is the current running back for the Seattle Seahawks, but his journey to NFL fame has not been a simple one. After being drafted to the Green Bay Packers in 2013, Lacy’s great love of food became a source for internet trolls to pounce on him.
Maintaining the ideal weight for his football position has been a constant struggle for Lacy. He has had to constantly work out and diet to keep the pounds down. The offseason time proved to be one of Lacy’s major downfalls. He once admitted that during his ankle injury he couldn’t do anything, so he just laid around eating. His weight became such an issue that the Seahawks offered him bonus incentives ($55k!) to reach his weigh-goals. Despite his increasing haters’ insults, Lacy met his weigh in marker and remained able to play the game.
11 O.J. Simpson
The now 70-year-old former NFL star is nearly unrecognizable from the 22-year-old man who played for the Buffalo Bills and 49ers in the 70’s. O.J. “The Juice” Simpson was once a big shot on the football field. However, most people nowadays only know him for his alleged role in the double murder scandal involving his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.
While playing for the NFL, Simpson was very fit and active. After he was arrested on 10 charges during his robbery case, he was sent off to prison. Each time Simpson was featured in the media, he appeared more disheveled and heavier. Simpson was recently released from prison after serving nine years, but he is at such an old age that he most likely will not find any motivation to shed some of the pounds off.
10 Keith McCants
Keith McCants was never really a very small guy while he played for the NFL in the 1990’s as a linebacker. It was his job to be one of the biggest and toughest players on the field; McCants was one of the most-feared defensive players in the nation and was admired by many. Life after the NFL isn’t a pretty picture for McCants. He’s been arrested on drug possession charges numerous times and was once diagnosed with clinical depression. McCants has expressed he’s in constant physical agony from the countless injuries he sustained while playing football. He has undergone 29 different surgeries and his football injuries created a painkiller addiction for McCants.
Due to his dramatically altered life after retirement, it’s no wonder McCants is one of the post-NFL players who let themselves go.
9 JaMarcus Russell
JaMarcus Russell joined the Oakland Raiders in 2007 as the first overall pick in the NFL’s 2007 draft. Unfortunately, Russell only played in the NFL for a couple of years before the Raiders released him and no one else picked him back up. Russell has been called “one of the biggest draft busts” ever. While in the NFL his weight wasn’t the problem, though, many said he lacked the necessary passion.
After being booted from the NFL, the then-260-pound baller started to gain weigh from his inactive and unhealthy lifestyle. In 2013, Russell attempted his big comeback into the NFL, but the quarterback weighed over 300lbs. Russell continued to lose even more weight and six-months-later, he lost 51 pounds. However, no one signed him on and no one signed him on after another desperate attempt in 2016.
8 Daunte Culpepper
Daunte Culpepper was one of the heaviest quarterbacks at 264 lbs. Culpepper played in the NFL for 10 years and also became 45th best quarterback of the modern era. In 2008, Culpepper formally retired from the NFL, but had his “comeback” the same year. Culpepper’s weight didn’t play a role into his NFL career ending just a year later, it had more to do with his injuries and an increasingly poor performance since his departure from the Minnesota Vikings.
He never really got his big comeback into the NFL from then, but he did play a year with the Unified Football League. However, a few years later his life continued to fall apart. He lost his multimillion dollar Florida home and age wasn’t playing nice with him.
7 Jared Lorenzen
Jared Lorenzen, old “Hefty Lefty,” was undeniably one of the largest quarterbacks in NFL history. Lorenzen weighed just over 300 pounds when he was drafted to the New York Giants in 2004. He was one of the great quarterbacks during his time, but his large size often took over the headlines as people dubbed him the “Pillsbury Throw Boy.” When Lorenzen retired from the NFL, he weighed in at 285 lbs and spent some time with a couple of different Indoor Football Leagues.
Now, more than twelve years since his NFL departure, Lorenzen stepped on the scale and weighed in at a massive 502 lbs. Lorenzen had always been a big boy, even since birth, but he upsettably admitted he has never weighed that much. His startling weight sparked him to launch “The Jared Lorenzen Project,” as a video documented weight loss journey to shed some major pounds.
6 Jerome Bettis
Jerome Bettis was one of the greats during his 12 years with the NFL. At 5’11” and 255lbs, this running back easily gained the nickname “The Bus.” The nickname signified his ability to rush through carrying multiple defenders on his back. Bettis was also called, “The Battering Ram” while he played for the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams.
Bettis always said he played to be a champion, and his great playing ability helped take the Pittsburgh Steelers to Super Bowl XL in 2006. After bringing in a big win, Bettis retired from the NFL. He was hit with a rude awakening when he soon realized that without the intense NFL workouts, he quickly started packing on some serious pounds. Bettis took immediate control over the matter and worked out an efficient diet and adapted a more active lifestyle.
5 Warren Sapp
The Hall of Famer and legendary defensive tackle joined the NFL in 1995 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Warren Sapp’s hard-hitting career was stocked full of forceful tackles and the occasional verbal outburst. He was known for terrorizing the offensive lineman and the quarterbacks with his 6’2”, 300lb stature. Sapp was indisputably a major role in the Buccaneers leading defence. However, Sapp was traded over to the Oakland Raiders in 2004, after beating them in the Super Bowl with the Buccaneers in 2003.
Before joining the Raiders, he shed about 20lbs from his figure. Fortunately, it didn’t have any affect on his playing ability as he still took control of the field when he played. A few years later, Sapp lost another 49lbs and a year after that, he retired. He is recognized as the ideal defensive tackle, and teams are always on the lookout for a “Baby Sapp.”
4 Rickey Jackson
Rickey Jackson was a key member of the New Orleans Saints’ infamous Dome Patrol – the four-man linebacking winning crew and a four-time first-team All-Pro. The admirable linebacker played 13 seasons with the Saints and was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame. After joining the San Francisco 49ers in 1994, he won his only Super Bowl and retired from the NFL the following season.
His great life seemed to retire along with his NFL retirement, though. Jackson had to deal with the early death of his mother and over $150,000 of unpaid child support. He was listed as one of the greatest dead-beat dads. However, he took care of that right away and has a great relationship with his nine kids. Although Jackson isn’t one of the largest players from this list, he was a pretty big man and gained more weight into his old age.
3 Eli Manning
Eli Manning, New York Giants Quarterback, is by no means one of the largest-sized quarterbacks of the NFL history. He is, however, not as fit as one would expect a leading quarterback to be. Manning was caught on the beach in some less than fortunate photos showing off some major belly pudge.
Eli is one of the most unexpected strong men of modern-day NFL and has started in 210 consecutive games. Only two other quarterbacks in NFL history have more than that, including his brother Peyton Manning. Eli is expected to surpass his brother’s marker, though, if he keeps on playing. His “dad bod” doesn’t get in this two-time Super Bowl champion’s way at all while playing the game. Additionally, the younger Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP.
2 Peyton Manning
Two-time Super Bowl champion and five-time NFL MVP, Peyton Manning played 18 years of football for the NFL before retiring in 2016. The popular quarterback has been called one of the best quarterbacks to play under Super Bowl pressure in the history of the NFL. Physically, he’s most recognized for his “oversized” forehead, but after retiring from the game something else has also started to become “oversized” – his gut.
Manning has started falling into the “Dad Bod” category since his retirement. Although he’s never had the “ideal” quarterback’s body, he did maintain some sort of athletic fitness while playing in the NFL. Outside the game, he doesn’t really need to work out anymore. So, that, along with his middle-aged lifecycle (41-years-old), probably contributes to most of Manning’s weight gain.
1 Albert Haynesworth
The 6’6” 350lb, defensive tackle signed on with the Tennessee Titans in 2002. Albert Haynesworth soon became declared “a potentially brutal run-stopper” and made his way to becoming the “highest paid defensive player in the league.” Haynesworth was also one of the most feared defensive players, but for all the wrong reasons. During training camp with the Titans, Haynesworth was involved in a physical altercation with a teammate. This was just a foreshadow of the many incidents he would later be involved in, including the infamous “stomping incident” in 2006.
Haynesworth joined the Washington Redskins in 2009, but only lasted with them until 2010. He made big headlines for not being able to pass the club’s fitness test. He was reportedly only able to complete half before just completely stopping. Haynesworth was deemed one of the bigger players because of his struggle.