Eat, play, live? Matt Kalil is packing on the pounds for the NFL
... He's also putting his life in danger.
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's Sept. 3 NFL Preview.
Vikings-rookie Matt Kalil joins list of NFL players putting health at risk ... ESPN Magazine
MATT KALIL, A MAN ROUGHLY THE SIZE of a Kodiak bear, is sitting across the table from me in the Vikings' cafeteria at training camp, eating his lunch with all the enthusiasm of an assembly-line robot....
When he's not chewing, Kalil is trying to convince me, despite my skeptical glances, that if he were to stop playing football, he could drop weight in no time. "If I just ate a regular diet," he says between bites of garlic bread, "like 3,000 calories a day, I could probably drop 20 pounds in two weeks. Easily. I weighed 312 pounds this morning, but I'm at 17 percent body fat."
Right now, however, Kalil is choking down 7,000 calories each day, which is fairly typical for a growing NFL lineman. In the trenches, it's all about getting leverage on the guy on the other side of the ball, and being bigger than him is perceived as the way to do it. That's why the last four decades have seen a huge increase in huge linemen. They're called the Big Uglies, and we now take for granted that they pretty much all tip the scales at three bills or more. But for many of them to reach that weight, it's a never-ending battle to the bulge, and there's a definite downside to that mass consumption.