22 NFL players who lost a ton of weight in retirement explain how they shaved off the pounds
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.
In a little over a year since retiring, Unger lost a whopping 60 pounds after taking time “to focus on his body.”
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.
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.”
Will Montgomery was a 305-pound offensive lineman with a size 42 waist who played for 5 teams in 9 seasons.
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).
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.”
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.”
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.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
After retiring, he lost 85 pounds in four months by reducing his calories, using intermittent fasting, and yoga.
“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.”