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Ex-NFL linemen discover that weighing 300 pounds or more is no asset in life after football


May. 29, 2014 Washington Post

Roger Brown was made to go to the train station back then, standing where they weighed logs and iron. The Detroit Lions’ scale didn’t reach such ungodly measures.

Weigh-in day came each Thursday, and most weeks this was nerve-racking and humiliating. In the early 1960s, Brown’s target weight as a defensive tackle was 280 pounds; for each extra pound he was fined $10. The team’s scale stopped at 250, and so away they went. He would stand there amid the other freight, a few teammates chiming in with oinks and grunts, while they waited to see that week’s number, which sometimes registered 300 or more.

“Today,” Brown says now, at age 77, “fans look at you as this big, healthy [butt] kicker. Back then, you were just an overweight blob.”

In the early 1960s, Brown was the biggest man in football — and, as the NFL’s first regular player to weigh 300 pounds, something of an oddity. These days, there’s nothing unusual about a player that size. Three weeks ago, when 256 players entered the league via the NFL draft, 57 were listed at weights of at least 300 pounds.

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