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Antone Davis tries to help former NFL players stay in shape

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Recently, the connection between head injuries and long-term chronic health conditions has received plenty of attention, and rightfully so.  But there’s another challenge that former NFL players face after they quit playing in the NFL.

Big men often end up getting even bigger.  And as a result dying far too young.

Former Eagles tackle Antone Davis, a first-round pick in 1991, found himself at 476 pounds.  And Davis knew he needed to take action.

“I remember getting on a scale and looking at myself going, ‘You’re 24 pounds away from 500,’” Davis recently told Jim Gehman of PhiladelphiaEagles.com.  “It just blew me away.  I didn’t physically think I could actually get that big, but I was 476 pounds.  I’ll never forget it.

“That coupled with Reggie White passing away, Harry Galbreath passing away, all these NFL offensive and defensive linemen passing away; I started looking closer to home.  I realized there are actually seven guys that were former [college] teammates of mine that all passed away.  All younger and all lighter than me.  So here I am the heaviest guy, and the oldest guy, and I’m not dead yet.  I think it was just a reality check.  If you don’t do something, you are going to die.  There are no ifs, ands or buts.”

After landing on NBC’s The Biggest Loser last year, Davis finished second by plummeting to 245 pounds.  And now he wants to help other former players get themselves in shape.

“We’re trying to put together a program to try to help guys because a lot of people don’t know the average life expectancy of offensive and defensive linemen in the NFL is about 52 years,” Davis said.  “I have to attribute it primarily to the body size.  Most guys, just like me, once you leave the league you just kind of fall by the wayside doing your own thing.  Working out is not the forefront.

“We’re trying to approach the NFLPA.  We have plans hopefully to approach the NFL, and individual teams if we have to.  We hope that people recognize that there is a serious need to help these guys get their weight under control.  I understand [the current players] need the bulk to be able to play.  I get that.  But you also need that help and that new life lesson on how you’re going to live the rest of your life once you’re done.”

Amen to that, and kudos to Davis for showing his peers that there’s a way to turn things around before it’s too late.  Here’s hoping that the NFLPA and the NFL eventually put as much effort into helping players transition their eating and workout habits after retirement as the union and league are now devoting to the problem of concussions.  Though the body can’t function very well without the brain, the heart is fairly important, too.

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16 Responses to “Antone Davis tries to help former NFL players stay in shape”
  1. theshakeweight says: Feb 16, 2012 4:43 PM

    Mr Davis,

    Jamarcus Russell is on line 1…

  2. cardiovascularendurance says: Feb 16, 2012 4:47 PM

    …and Donovan McNabb on line 2.

  3. duanethomas says: Feb 16, 2012 4:52 PM

    Let’s see how Antone is a few years down the line, the extreme weight loss that happens on that show is not sustained in the real world. Most of them end up heavier after a year or two.

  4. rockyburnette says: Feb 16, 2012 5:08 PM

    True, but pro athletes are a different breed. As long as he is physically able to work out I doubt he will regress.

  5. kevinfromphilly says: Feb 16, 2012 5:27 PM

    He was always so big, and yet he always came up small.

  6. babyhorsemorgan says: Feb 16, 2012 5:39 PM

    Probably it’s just me, but I’d love to see a reality show where the contestants tried to gain as much weight as possible. Can you imagine how gross and awesome that would be? Shoveling food down. The Biggest Hoover.

  7. schmitty2 says: Feb 16, 2012 6:31 PM

    duanethomas says:
    Feb 16, 2012 4:52 PM
    Let’s see how Antone is a few years down the line, the extreme weight loss that happens on that show is not sustained in the real world. Most of them end up heavier after a year or two.

    I hope you never think about a career in motivational speaking

  8. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Feb 16, 2012 6:36 PM

    cardiovascularendurance says:Feb 16, 2012 4:47 PM

    …and Donovan McNabb on line 2.

    Man I wish I’d written that. Add Fat Albert Haynesworth to that list.

  9. onewinningpick says: Feb 16, 2012 6:39 PM

    This is IMO just as important as concussion procedures. While the big difference is of course that this can be considered an individual’s fault for overeating and not exercising while a concussion is more of an unavoidable situation. Either way, a simple solution could be to force retired players to participate in an exercise and dieting plan in order to receive their pensions. Or they could be required to maintain a certain BMI so that they are considered healthy by modern medical standards.

    (Disclaimer: I wrote this on my cell phone so if it comes off like an idiot wrote it or if there are a ton of grammatical mistakes or spelling errors, forgive me)

  10. sjoyner59 says: Feb 16, 2012 7:07 PM

    Ritchie the K in the now legendary 2 number ones for the first round pick to get Antone Davies…I hated Ritchie the K

  11. pkg2s says: Feb 16, 2012 7:14 PM

    “a lot of people don’t know the average life expectancy of offensive and defensive linemen in the NFL is about 52 years,”

    Wow that’s crazy. Hope those big guys take care of themselves.

  12. richkotite says: Feb 16, 2012 8:50 PM

    @sjoyner59:

    Dude, I’m right here, you know.

  13. tweeter75 says: Feb 16, 2012 9:01 PM

    I watched Antone on the biggest loser…he is truly an inspiration. Hopefully the NFLPA steps up and takes care of retired players and help them manage their weight and live healthier, especially the bigger guys….offensive and defensive lineman.

  14. fmwarner says: Feb 17, 2012 3:43 AM

    It’s good to see Antone turn his life around. He wasn’t much of a player (to be generous), but I’m glad he seems to have found a niche.

    Makes me wonder what Mike Mamula is up to.

  15. godofwine330 says: Feb 17, 2012 9:59 AM

    Man, this dude was “Mr. False Start’. He just jumped so much, and this was without the Neil Smith kind of dude in front of him. He just had problems with the snap count. I don’t know how he made it through to the NFL.

    Props to him for losing all of that weight. 24 pounds from 500? Whew.

  16. moochzilla says: Feb 18, 2012 6:01 PM

    OK, first off every single draft analyst and team had Antone ranked as high as he was.

    Some guys just don’t pan out.

    His problem, if you remember, was that he was “too nice”. The coaching staff could never “bring the wolf out” in Antone.

    I bear him no ill will.

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