New Orleans has been a wild and boisterous place lately, and the same can be said for every other major city looking to imitate the creatures crawling on Bourbon Street. The glorious time of the year when beads are quite valuable, and indulging is not only encouraged but required just ended, leaving many nursing stomach aches and regretting a few decisions.
Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, the grand finale of Mardi Gras. It was a day when face-stuffing is a rite of passage, with pancakes and cakes the main weapons of choice. I can’t think of a better time to do a list of the NFL’s fattest players.
In truth, that’s the loose connection we’re using to do our version of a list you’re read many times. As Gagnon wrote earlier this week while putting together his own re-cycled list, we anticipated an excruciatingly slow week with the NFL’s labour mediation continuing and player movement frozen. Rather than cure your sleep apnea with eight lockout posts a day, we thought we’d have some fun and pound out a few lists.
Then Tiki Barber decided to lose his mind, and this week hasn’t been so slow after all. But that won’t stop us from counting down the top five most memorable heavyweights, a group of NFL players who really, really enjoy Fat Tuesday.
The List: The NFL’s fattest players
5. Aaron Gibson
The bulky Bears offensive lineman would rank higher if he had the notoriety of others further down the list. Weight is one thing Gibson certainly didn’t lack though, tipping the scales at 375 pounds.
4. Shaun Rogers
Recently signed by the Saints, at 350 pounds Rogers is one of the heaviest active players. The Packers’ B.J Raji is a close second at 334 pounds, but his athletic ability more than makes up for any excess baggage.
3. Gilbert Brown
Brown is one of the first names to immediately jump to mind while playing “name that fat NFL player” (Gagnon and I play that all the time). He was often rumoured to be pushing 400 pounds during his days with the Packers, but he consistently hovered around the 350 mark.
2. Nate Newton
At his heaviest, Newton was one of the first players to eclipse 400 pounds. His weight was a constant running joke around the NFL, a joke that Newton himself played along with by inviting the nickname “the kitchen.”
Many of the heaviest players have short-lived careers, with their bulk taking its toll and dramatically shortening their football life expectancy. But not Newton, who was on the Cowboys’ offensive line for 13 years before fading off into the NFL sunset for one year in Carolina. He won two Super Bowls in Dallas and was named to the Pro Bowl six times.
Newton welcomed the laughs during his career, but eventually he became fearful of his obesity. Now a family man at 48 years old, Newton had a vertical gastrectomy last fall that shaved his size down to a much healthier 220 pounds. He’s barely recognizable at a weight he hasn’t seen since grade eight.
1. William “The Refrigerator” Perry
A list of the most notorious big men in NFL history simply can’t be done without featuring the Fridge. Unfortunately, this story may not have a happy ending.
Perry’s weight fluctuated between being large and being massive throughout his nine-year career. His final playing weight is listed at Pro Football Reference as 325 pounds, but the defensive tackle once ballooned to 420 pounds during the offseason and checked into a minicamp at the plump sized of 377 pounds.
We already have a habit of developing a love affair with kind-hearted big men, but Perry morphed that into an infatuation when he rumbled for a touchdown during the Bears’ demolition of the Patriots in Super Bowl XX. Now, the man who will forever be referred to affectionately as “The Refrigerator” only gets up to visit the bathroom or the liquor store.