Why do you keep fit?
It's about staying healthy, and it's a lifelong journey now. I want to have the best quality of life for me, my wife and the children. I want to be here another 40 or 50 years. I want to be able to walk my daughter down the aisle.
What happened? How did you get to that weight?
After football, I got out of shape. I had a lot of football injuries, retired because of my Achilles, which still bothers me. I've had six knee operations, arthritis in elbows and knees. And all that extra weight made it worse.
But in August, I had weight-loss surgery and made getting in shape a mission for the rest of my life because I saw too many teammates dropping dead from obesity. One in July hit me hard: Harry Galbreath. He struggled to be 285 when he played guard for the Dolphins.
At the time, I was taking high blood pressure and cholesterol medications and getting ready to have my fourth child. When Harry passed away, I said to my wife that I needed to get control of my weight. I was 352 pounds and obviously not healthy, 380 when I met her two years ago. I was embarrassed. And my weight was holding me back from enjoying time with my young kids. Getting on the floor and playing with a toddler was a challenge.
Recently, the NFL has been concerned with players getting concussions, including the long-term effects. Will the NFL ever address obesity?
They need to. Concussions, great. I'm big on that. But you're now seeing linemen up to 360 pounds. I played around 320 so the weight problems will get worse. When we play, there's a belief that you need to be as big as can be. But with retirement, most of us don't see the weight coming on. Suddenly you think, 'Wow, how did I gain this 30 or 40 pounds?' Now you're diabetic, have high blood pressure. Jamie Dukes of the NFL Network has been a champion of helping guys who gained weight by giving advice on weight-loss operations and diets. But more needs to be done. (Dukes, who grew up in Orlando, was an NFL lineman for 10 years.)
With your serious career injuries and post-career health challenges, was it worth it to play in the NFL?
Absolutely worth it, even knowing the pain I went through. You make major sacrifices to play a game you love. But I would be smarter and not play the same way with pain. My final season in the NFL, I didn't practice yet I played 12 weeks. They would completely numb up [my Achilles] so I wouldn't feel it.
How did you start your exercise renaissance after the long pause?
I started walking. At first, I couldn't walk half a mile, but then I did a mile, then 2 miles. Now 5 miles, an hour and 20 minutes.
What's your exercise routine?
If I don't get five days per week, I don't feel good. I take the kids to school then three days a week go to a local park where I walk 3 to 4 miles roundtrip ... If the weather is cold, I use a treadmill, elliptical trainer and bike at home. That's 45 minutes with the stereo on. I recently worked a Dolphins game doing pre-game, came home and walked 3 miles on the treadmill. It's low impact.
A couple of times a week, I lift with kettlebells, do a full set of legs with machines, free weights, a lot of band weights because my joints ache. Instead of doing 300 pounds on the bench press (to maximize strength and size), I use bands to tone.
I've tried CrossFit but that was a little tough.
Do you count calories?
I wear a pedometer 24/7 with the goal of 10,000 steps a day, which I always exceed. I can hook it up and see on a computer how many calories I'm burning. I'm averaging 3,800 calories a day; I've gone up to 4,500. And I'm consuming probably 1,800 in a day, maybe 2,000. I was probably eating 5,000 before.