SALT LAKE CITY — Football fans probably wouldn’t recognize Jordan Gross if they saw him now.
The former consensus All-American offensive lineman from the University of Utah was a massive 6-foot-4, 305 pounds during his football career with the Utes and then the Carolina Panthers.
He’s still a massive 6-foot-4, but Gross is a lean, muscular, six-pack-sporting 240-pound man nowadays. His transformation was included in an ESPN.com story about how some NFL offensive linemen have ditched their 5,000-calorie lunches for a healthier lifestyle in retirement.
Though Gross started in 167 games and played in 11 seasons in the NFL, earning Pro Bowl status three times and starting in Super Bowl XXXVIII, he believes his 70-pound post-retirement weight loss is his lasting legacy.
Gross told ESPN, “Fans know me more for losing weight than they do for anything I did in my entire career.”
Like most NFL linemen, whose average weigh has ballooned from 254.3 pounds in 1970 to 315 in 2020, Gross inhaled a whole lot of food to keep his body mass above 300. The menu, the article listed, included six pieces of bacon, six scrambled eggs, two 50-gram protein shakes, four hard-boiled eggs and two chicken breasts by mid-afternoon. During training camp, he’d dish himself 15 seconds worth of ice cream from the soft-serve machine and blend that with four cups of whole milk, three chocolate chip cookies and chocolate syrup. The cookies alone were about 2,500 calories.
“Fans know me more for losing weight than they do for anything I did in my entire career.” — Jordan Gross
“That’s all inflammatory foods, like sugar and dairy,” Gross said, “I’m not going to say it’s horrible; it was pretty awesome to eat that stuff. But you’re putting so much demand on your digestive system. I always had gas. I always had to use the bathroom. I was bloated because I was so full all the time.”
Tired of being obese and sweating all the time, Gross made drastic changes after retiring. He experimented with different types of eating regiments, including vegetarian and paleo, and managed to drop 80-plus pounds in six months. In the process, he experienced pain relief in his previously swollen feet and ankles, among other benefits. He’s kept most of his dropped weight off for six-plus years.
The article also highlights similar transformations made by former NFL linemen Joe Staley, Nick Hardwick, Joe Hawley, Alan Faneca and Joe Thomas, who was featured in a TMZ article headlined “Ex-NFL Fat Guy ... LOOKS LIKE A CHISELED GREEK GOD.”
“I just had a great laugh,” Thomas told ESPN. “Isn’t that the typical lineman life? Eleven years in the NFL, and all I’m known as now is ex-NFL fat guy.”