22 NFL players who lost a ton of weight in retirement explain how they shaved off the pounds

Marshal Yanda lost 64 pounds in the first four months after retiring from the NFL.
Marshal Yanda lost 64 pounds in the first four months after retiring from the NFL.

Ron Schwane/AP; The Pat McAfee Show

  • Many NFL players lose a ton of weight after retiring, revealing the great and dangerous lengths they go to maintain their oversized bodies.

  • Longtime Baltimore Ravens guard Marshal Yanda lost 64 pounds in the first four months after retiring from the NFL.

  • Many of said players are former offensive linemen and most are nearly unrecognizable in their lives off the gridiron.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Many former athletes struggle with weight gain after their playing careers end. This is especially true among football players.

Some players are luckier and actually lose a ton of weight. In many cases, the players are now nearly unrecognizable.

One common theme among many of these players is the position they played.

Most of the players on the following pages were offensive lineman, suggesting those players do more to push their body weight to an extreme, developing dangerous habits like consuming massive numbers of calories to maintain their playing sizes.

After 10 years in the NFL, longtime Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Max Unger retired due to a series of lower-body injuries. In his time protecting the likes of Russell Wilson and Drew Brees, Unger was listed as 6-foot-5, 305 pounds.

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max unger

AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo

Source: NBC Sports

In a little over a year since retiring, Unger lost a whopping 60 pounds after taking time “to focus on his body.”

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max unger

Fletcher Mackel/Twitter

Source: Fletcher Mackel/Twitter

Eight-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Marshal Yanda played his final NFL game at 312 pounds, retiring after the 2019 season and 13 years in the league, all with the Baltimore Ravens.

FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2016, file photo, Baltimore Ravens guard Marshal Yanda, right, talks with quarterback Joe Flacco during practice at the NFL football teams training camp in Baltimore. Yanda retired from the NFL on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, with the satisfaction of knowing that he walked away before being kicked out the door. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2016, file photo, Baltimore Ravens guard Marshal Yanda, right, talks with quarterback Joe Flacco during practice at the NFL football teams training camp in Baltimore. Yanda retired from the NFL on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, with the satisfaction of knowing that he walked away before being kicked out the door. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)
FILE – In this Aug. 1, 2016, file photo, Baltimore Ravens guard Marshal Yanda, right, talks with quarterback Joe Flacco during practice at the NFL football teams training camp in Baltimore. Yanda retired from the NFL on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, with the satisfaction of knowing that he walked away before being kicked out the door. (AP Photo/Gail Burton, File)

Associated Press

Five months after retiring, Yanda was down to 248 pounds by working out and eating less, telling “The Pat McAfee Show,” “I didn’t really realize it at the time how much I was doing to keep that weight on, but obviously, it has come off really fast, and shoot, I feel so much better.”

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marshal yanda

Ron Schwane/AP; The Pat McAfee Show

Source: The Pat McAfee Show

Will Montgomery was a 305-pound offensive lineman with a size 42 waist who played for 5 teams in 9 seasons.

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will montgomery

AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

Post retirement, Montgomery weighed in at 225 pounds — his lowest weight since high school — and has a 34-inch waist. He did it by cutting out sugars, no longer eating pasta and bread, and drinking more red wine and less beer (Montgomery is on the left).

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will montgomery

Will Montgomery/Twitter

10-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas is regarded as one of the best offensive linemen ever. He spent most of his career playing at 310 pounds and said he was “more eager to lose weight than almost anything in retirement.”

Joe ThomasJoe Thomas
Joe Thomas

Getty Images

Source: NFL Network

He is now an analyst for the NFL Network and it it took less than nine months after his final NFL game to lose 50 pounds. When asked how he did it, he chuckled and said, “You just don’t eat until you feel like you’re gonna throw up at every meal and all of a sudden the weight falls right off.”

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joe thomas

NFL Network

Source: NFL Network

David Carter was a 300-pound defensive lineman for the Cardinals and Cowboys.

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david carter

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Carter lost 40 pounds in 6 weeks after becoming a vegan and is now a model.

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david carter

David Carter/Instagram

Brad Culpepper (No. 77) was a 275-pound defensive tackle for three different teams and retired after the 2000 season.

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Brad Culpepper

Reuters

Source: @monicaculpepper

Here is Brad Culpepper on the show “Survivor.” He says it was pretty easy to lose 80 pounds because he simply stopped eating all the extra food needed to maintain his playing weight.

Brad CulpepperBrad Culpepper
Brad Culpepper

YouTube/Survivor

Source: sptimes.com

Mike Golic played for 3 teams in 8 seasons, most famously as a defensive tackle for the dominant Eagles’ defense of the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was listed at 280 pounds during his career.

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mike golic

Rick Stewart /Allsport

Golic has slimmed down considerably in recent years and has become a major personality for ESPN.

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mike and mike

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Alan Faneca was a 320-pound offensive lineman for the Steelers, Jets, and Cardinals, and he last played in 2010.

Alan FanecaAlan Faneca
Alan Faneca

Getty Images

Alan Faneca has lost 105 pounds since he stopped playing, and he completed his first marathon in 2014.

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alan faneca

Twitter

 SOURCE: @lianefaneca and WashingtonPost.com

Nick Hardwick was a 300-pound center for the San Diego Chargers who retired after the 2014 season. He said he had to eat “lots of ice cream, burritos, pizza” and “whatever else [he] could get [his] hands on” in order to maintain his size.

Nick HardwickNick Hardwick
Nick Hardwick

Brian Bahr/Getty Images

After retiring, he lost 85 pounds in four months by reducing his calories, using intermittent fasting, and yoga.

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nick hardwick

Nick Hardwick/Instagram

Source: Los Angeles Times

Jeff Saturday was a 295-pound center who spent most of his career with the Colts and retired after the 2012 season.

Jeff SaturdayJeff Saturday
Jeff Saturday

Getty Images

Jeff Saturday, left, now weighs 238 pounds and runs a program to help former players learn about healthy lifestyles.

Jeff Saturday and Chuck PaganoJeff Saturday and Chuck Pagano
Jeff Saturday and Chuck Pagano

Darron Cummings/AP

SOURCE: ESPN.com

Jordan Gross was a 3-time Pro Bowler as a 300-pound offensive lineman with the Panthers.

Jordan GrossJordan Gross
Jordan Gross

Getty Images

Just seven months after retiring following the 2013 season, Gross looked a lot closer to 200 pounds when he visited training camp.

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AP_368529698099

Chuck Burton/AP

Antone Davis (No. 78) was a 330-pound offensive lineman and grew to 475 pounds after he stopped playing in 1997.

Antone DavisAntone Davis
Antone Davis

AP/NBC

Antone Davis was a runner-up on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” where he lost more than 200 pounds.

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antone davis weight loss

NBC via SportsGeekery

In the 1960s, Lions defensive lineman Roger Brown (No. 76) was the first 300-pound player to get regular playing time in the NFL.

Roger BrownRoger Brown
Roger Brown

AP

Source: WashingtonPost.com

After he retired, he ballooned to nearly 450 pounds before a health scare convinced him to start losing weight. He (No. 76) lost nearly half his body weight to clock in at 227 pounds.

Robert BrownRobert Brown
Robert Brown

AP

Source: WashingtonPost.com

Nate Newton (No. 61), a 320-pound offensive lineman, played most of his 14-year career with the Cowboys before retiring in 1999 and growing to nearly 400 pounds in retirement.

NAte NewtonNAte Newton
NAte Newton

Getty Images

He was able to get down to 220 pounds in 2010 after surgery to remove 75% of his stomach.

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Nate Newton

AP

Source: Dallas Morning-News

JaMarcus Russell struggled with his weight with the Raiders and even more before attempting to get back into the NFL.

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JaMarcus Russell

Getty Images/YouTube

In 2013, JaMarcus Russell lost 51 pounds hoping for another shot in the NFL.

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jamarcus russell today

Test Football

SOURCE: @TEST_Football

Tom Nalen was a 290-pound center for the Denver Broncos who last played in 2007.

Tom NalenTom Nalen
Tom Nalen

Getty Images

A skinnier Nalen was inducted into the Broncos’ Ring of Fame and credited continuing to work out after his retirement for his weight loss.

Tom NalenTom Nalen
Tom Nalen

Jack Dempsey/AP

Source: TheSunChronicle.com

LenDale White weighed as much as 260 pounds as a running back for the Titans.

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lendale white 2008

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Prior to his last season in the NFL, LenDale White lost 30 pounds, a result he credited to giving up tequila.

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lendale white 2009

Joe Murphy/Getty Images

SOURCE: SI.com

Matt Birk was a 310-pound center for the Vikings and Ravens who retired in 2012.

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Matt Birk

Rob Carr/Getty Images

After retiring, Matt Birk lost 75 pounds after joining Body By ViSalus, a company dedicated to ending obesity. He went on to model.

Matt BirkMatt Birk
Matt Birk

Challenge.com

Source: Challenge.com

Mark Schlereth was a 290-pound offensive lineman for Washington and Denver and last played in 2000.

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Mark Schlereth

AP

Mark Schlereth later slimmed-down and went on to become a commentator for Fox Sports.

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Mark Schlereth

Getty Images

David Pollack weighed as much as 297 pounds as a defensive lineman in college, and he last played in the NFL in 2006 as a 260-pound linebacker for the Bengals.

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David Pollack

Pat Sullivan/AP

After a career-ending injury, Pollack lost almost 70 pounds and became a college football commentator for ESPN. Pollack says he just got smarter about what he eats and when he eats it.

David PollackDavid Pollack
David Pollack

ESPN

Source: @davidpollack47 and MensFitness.com

Damien Woody was a 320-pound offensive lineman for the Lions, Patriots, and Jets.

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Damien Woody

Doug Benc/Getty Images

After seeing his weight go up to 388 pounds in retirement, Woody also went on “The Biggest Loser” and lost 110 pounds.

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damien woody

Damien Woody/Instagram

Current Washington Football Team lineman Tony Bergstrom hasn’t lost the weight yet, but he already has a plan to lose 50 of his 310 pounds when he retires.

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tony bergstrom.JPG

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

“I have the diet plan already written out,” Bergstrom told The Washington Post. “Offensive linemen go one of two ways: You either balloon up or you shrink to nothing. I’d rather shrink to nothing. Three months later, you’ll see a whole different person. I’ll come walking in and you’ll be like, I don’t know who that is.”

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tony bergstrom

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Source: Washington Post

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Floyd MayweatherFloyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather

Kevork Djansezian/AP

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