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

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).

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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

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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NFL Network

Source: NFL Network

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

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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/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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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.

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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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Rick Stewart /Allsport

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

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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.

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Getty Images

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

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 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

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/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.

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Getty Images

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

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Jeff Saturday and Chuck Pagano

Darron Cummings/AP


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

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Getty Images

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


Chuck Burton/AP

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

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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


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


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.

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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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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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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

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.

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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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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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Joe Murphy/Getty Images


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

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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.

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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 later slimmed-down and went on to become a commentator for Fox sports.

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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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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.

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Source: @davidpollack47 and MensFitness.com

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

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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/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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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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AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Source: Washington Post

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Floyd MayweatherFloyd Mayweather

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