Offensive linemen are some of the heaviest players in the NFL. They need to be in order to protect quarterbacks and create gaps for running backs to run through.
According to a study by the University of Idaho, the average offensive lineman in the NFL is about 6-foot-4 and over 314 pounds. For some, being 6-foot-4 is an anomaly, but carrying that much weight while needing to be a freak athlete to some extent to block opposing pass rushers is an almost-supernatural ability.
After NFL players retire, we don't often hear from them, especially offensive linemen. We keep up with star quarterbacks or other skill positions. But we often overlook the offensive linemen despite how critical their role is to a team's success.
However, there's one area where they can steal headlines post-retirement, which is their body transformations. The latest is former offensive tackle Russell Okung, who played for the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Chargers. We'll discuss him more later, but look at this transformation — it's unbelievable!
Ex-NFL lineman Russell Okung unrecognizable after weight-loss transformation https://t.co/HgfsiKtaD5 pic.twitter.com/xLfsn5V9pr
— New York Post (@nypost) April 10, 2023
It's mind-boggling to see a guy you've watched on television for sometimes more than a decade drop a fraction of that 300-pound frame.
Below, we'll pat these guys on the back and list some of the most notable linemen to make transformations so dramatic that you almost can't even tell it's the same person.
JC Tretter, Center
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There's no side-by-side picture such as the one Okung posted above, but Tretter — now 32 years old — was a center for the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns. His playing weight was 307 pounds.
I first noticed the Tretter transformation during his appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show." I had tuned in during the segment, and they kept referring to him as "Tret," and I remember thinking, "Wait — is that JC Tretter? What the heck?"
I then looked him up and saw the transformation, and it was surprising.
With that photo in mind, look at this image he posted on his Instagram at the NFLPA Classic (a golf event) just a few weeks ago. He's the guy second in from the right.
Tretter was drafted in the fourth round and No. 122 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Cornell. In nine seasons, he earned nearly $45 million and is currently the president of the National Football League Players Association.
Russell Okung, Offensive Tackle
OK, let's talk about the guy who inspired this entire article. Don't get me wrong — all the transformations are impressive, but something about this one is insane. It's almost as if Okung retired in 2020 and immediately started training and dieting. If a person had no idea who Okung was and asked him what he did for work and he said, "Oh, I used to play in the NFL" and added he was an offensive tackle, that person would be stunned — as we all are.
Okung, who made nearly $109 million in his NFL career and made two Pro Bowls, is living his best life right now. He looks incredible.
— OKUNG (@RussellOkung) April 9, 2023
Considering he played at more than 300 pounds, one might think this is photoshopped.
Mike Pouncey, Center
First, the fact that Mike Pouncey and his brother, Maurkice, who were both offensive linemen, retired the same year is fantastic. They were drafted just one year apart; Maurkice was the No. 18 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and Mike was the No. 15 overall pick in 2011.
In his playing career, Mike fluctuated around 300 pounds and was an excellent player for the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers.
He played for 10 years in the league and earned close to $61 million. In early March 2023, Pouncey was speaking for an engagement involving the Dolphins and said that he and his brother have both lost 70 pounds in retirement. Regarding their eating habits, he said, "Well, when we were playing, we ate like pigs."
Hey, it's not a surprise. Offensive linemen are big guys who require a lot of calories to maintain their weight.
Here's Mike now:
Mike Pouncey said he and his brother lost 70 pounds since retirement. Said he was told they ?eat like rabbits? now. His response:
?Well when we were playing, we ate like pigs.? pic.twitter.com/97J1udwnie
— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) March 9, 2023
Marshal Yanda, Guard
Perhaps one of the best guards in NFL history, Marshal Yanda never had a Pro Football Focus grade of less than 80.5. He was the definition of "a guy who you can plug and play for 10-15 years along the offensive line."
Yanda played his entire career with the Baltimore Ravens after entering the league in 2007. He made over $70 million; based on his play, he should've made well over that.
He's since been inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor and should be considered for the NFL Hall of Fame. He looks like he could be on the cover of Men's Health:
Marshal Yanda will be inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor Presented by Meritage Jewelers on December 4 when we host the Broncos!
All fans in attendance will take home a commemorative pin featuring Yanda?s No. 73. pic.twitter.com/0ZQc4Fevbl
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 13, 2022
Joe Thomas, Offensive Tackle
Of all of the offensive linemen's transformations, Joe Thomas' is the one that comes to mind first. I first noticed it because of his role on NFL Network as an analyst. He retired in 2017 after playing his entire career for the Cleveland Browns.
Thomas never left the team despite how absolutely atrocious the Browns were in that 2007-2017 stretch. In his rookie year, the Browns went 10-6; after that, Thomas never experienced another winning season, with their best record being 7-9 in 2014. And, yes, he was part of that legendary 0-16 team in 2017, his final season.
Thomas is regarded as easily one of the best offensive tackles to do it. Since his retirement, Thomas has lost more than 50 pounds and is RIPPED.
Joe Thomas's weight loss is the biggest shocker of the draft. I don't care what happens. pic.twitter.com/NzqeJEdESD
— Jake Higdon (@JakeHigdon35) April 30, 2021
Damien Woody, Guard
While many of you may know Damien Woody as an on-air personality for ESPN, he also enjoyed a solid NFL career from 1999-2010 playing for the New England Patriots, Detroit Lions and New York Jets. He was the last first-round draft pick made by the Patriots before the Bill Belichick era, going No. 17 overall. He won two Super Bowls with the Patriots in 2001 and 2003 but did not play in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers due to injury. He played at 327 pounds.
He was also on "The Biggest Loser" in 2014, where he transformed his body:
ESPN NFL analyst Damien Woody looking transformed after being on NBC's The Biggest Loser pic.twitter.com/KbzRad5rUI
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) October 30, 2014
Alan Faneca, Guard
Drafted No. 26 overall in 1998 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Alan Faneca would play for the team between 1998-2007 before going to the Jets for 2008 and 2009, then ending his career in 2010 with the Arizona Cardinals. He was part of the Super Bowl XL-winning team, was a six-time first-team All-Pro, is in the Steelers Hall of Honor, and was a 2021 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Faneca now looks about half the size he did while playing. Here's him at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2021:
Jeff Saturday, Center
Jeff Saturday made more than one headline during the 2022-23 NFL season, as he was named the interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts following the firing of Frank Reich. He was an analyst for ESPN before being named to the coaching role.
Throughout his career, Saturday played for the Colts from 1999-2011 before finishing his career in 2012 with the Green Bay Packers. He was undrafted in 1998 but was briefly on the Baltimore Ravens in 1998. He was signed in April and waived in June. He spent the following year as a manager at an electrical supply store before joining the Colts in 1999, and the rest is history.
During his tenure as the Colts' interim head coach, Saturday went 1-7 and did not retain the role.
Colts Nation- love y?all! pic.twitter.com/7aFIy8jwUq
— Jeff Saturday (@SaturdayJeff) February 14, 2023
Orlando Franklin, Tackle/Guard
Drafted in 2011 by the Denver Broncos, Orlando Franklin last played in 2017 for the then-Washington Redskins. Playing at 6-foot-6 and over 315 pounds, Franklin was a monster of a human being and enjoyed some early career success with the Broncos. After leaving the Broncos, he signed a five-year deal with the Chargers in March 2015 but was released in May 2017.
Franklin made more than $24.5 million in his NFL career.
In 2020, he said he was down 84 pounds.
Orlando Franklin's post-football transformation ?
(via @OFranklin74) pic.twitter.com/5XZ4qGdWQK
— ESPN (@espn) December 3, 2020
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