There's an interesting article up at CNN right now that involves a few familiar names. It also involves a topic that's familiar to anyone who has ever played the line in football: weight.
Chuck Smith, who was a Tecmo Super Bowl favorite of mine back in the day and a very competent lineman for the Falcons, talks about the pressures of playing heavy and then trying to deal with it after leaving the NFL behind. The eating habits described in the article are pretty incredible:
"When I trained, they told us to eat all you can eat," said Smith, who played in Super Bowl XXXIII with the Falcons. "Drink beer, eat peanut butter to gain weight. All those eating habits were great for football. But when I got done, no question I had to make adjustments."
Mmm....beer and peanut butter. But the point is made that linemen continue to play at heavier and heavier weights, which is dangerous for the long term health of players and makes them pretty much immobile. The culture in the NFL is such that pretty much everyone calls you small if you're under 300 pounds, unless you have the good fortune to play in an Alex Gibbs zone blocking scheme on the offensive line. You have a little more leniency on the defensive end, but try telling that to Grady Jackson.
Given that it's a true long-term health issue, it'd be nice if the NFL would at least examine what's happening to the titanic linemen who either keep safe or destroy the more flashy running backs and quarterbacks. Given the amount of money involved, though, I bet you linemen are going to keep stuffing entire Cornish hens down their throats.