Broncos Jordan hopes weight loss leads to big gains in ’09
AP Sports Writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – A smiling and svelte LaMont Jordan sauntered off the Denver Broncos’ practice field minus any hint of a limp.
“There’s three things I’m not talking about – my health, Vegas and anything else,” he announced.
Asked anyway, Jordan wouldn’t talk about the knee he tweaked in a tackling drill recently, and he wouldn’t address the $20,000 in gambling debts plus interest that he’s being sued over after a night of gambling at The Mirage hotel-casino last summer.
He wouldn’t even discuss whether he learned his silent tactic from his lone season in New England.
“You’ll have to ask Coach about that,” was his familiar refrain to any and all inquiries.
Until it came to the one thing he was eager to discuss: his new physique.
Jordan has dropped 30 pounds from his 5-foot-10 frame since following coach Josh McDaniels from New England to Denver over the winter and signing a two-year, $2.5 million contract.
“I was just tired of being average,” Jordan said.
After weighing in at an astonishing 258 pounds, he’s down to 228, four pounds lighter than he’s ever played at during his nine-year NFL career.
And he’s out to reward McDaniels for taking a chance on him even though he was overweight and out of shape when he signed with the Broncos.
Jordan has rushed for 3,648 yards and 28 touchdowns in his career with the Jets, Raiders and Patriots. He’s also had 1,301 yards receiving with three TDs.
But he said he did all of that on pure athletic ability and he couldn’t live with himself if his career ended without him having put more blood, sweat and tears into his beloved sport.
For the first time, he said he realized that he has to work just as hard off the field as he does on it.
“My entire life I just got by on talent, college, first eight years in the league,” Jordan admitted. “I had this belief that God blessed me with natural athletic ability … but what I lacked was the willingness to go through the pain to be at my best.”
He blames that approach as a contributing factor in some of the injuries he’s had throughout his career, including a strained calf that sidelined him half of last season with the Patriots and a bum knee that cost him six games for Oakland in 2006.
Jordan said he was inspired to change his diet and his work habits by watching Kobe Bryant’s dogged determination to lead the Los Angeles Lakes to the NBA title this summer.
“I always say Kobe. I know a lot of people don’t like that, but I watched the NBA playoffs, I looked at Kobe. He’s the best in the game and you never see him get tired and he’s very consistent and that’s something that I wanted to do for this year and for the remainder of my career,” Jordan said.
He said he quit drinking sodas, tea and, yes, even alcohol.
He said he didn’t need Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or Nutrisystem, but the LenDale White diet. The Tennessee Titans’ workhorse running back recently said he lost more than 30 pounds this offseason by giving up tequila.
“I’m on that diet,” Jordan concurred. “He’s absolutely right. Part of me dropping to 228 pounds was I said to myself, you know, I’ve got to cut out all the alcohol, the late-night eating. It was the 3 a.m. (munchies) after you’re leaving the club and waking up in the afternoon and just eating what you want.
“Yeah, when I heard that, I said, ‘I will co-sign with that one.'”
Jordan said he can feel the effect of those changes in his lifestyle, workout regimen, diet and lifestyle during these dog days of August.
“I can. I haven’t had issues with my back, and that’s the first time throughout my entire career,” he said. “And that has to do with my weight and my dieting and making sure I stay on top of my core, working on my flexibility.”
The next few weeks will determine if Jordan’s epiphany came soon enough.
He’s been sharing snaps with the No. 1 offense with fellow free agent Correll Buckhalter while top pick Knowshon Moreno rounds his considerable game into shape. The release of Ryan Torain (knee) on Wednesday made way for the arrival of another big and fast free agent running back, Marcus Thomas.
Jordan likes his chances of earning a major role in McDaniels’ multiple-back approach.
In the last few months, he’s lost weight and gained perspective, two things he trusts will allow him to lead by example when it comes to helping the new coach implement his Patriots-style offense in Denver.
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