He certainly isn't the first, but he's the latest and perhaps most notable. We're talking about Joe Thomas and his new, svelte look.
The significantly trimmer former Browns tackle and future Hall of Famer appeared on NFL Network's Inside Training Camp Live on Monday in a tan suit with freshly coiffed hair. Addressing the elephant in the room (or lack thereof, considering his slim look) immediately, NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano asked Thomas about his weight loss.
"I was more eager to lose weight than almost anything in retirement," Thomas said.
And lose, he did. Fresh off the most losing season possible -- Thomas' Browns finished 0-16 -- the tackle doubled down on the Ls, dropping the LBs for one massive W. The left tackle who spent most of his playing career playing in the 310-pound range has lost 50 pounds since he played his final NFL snap.
Linemen are often unfairly stereotyped as athletes who have poor eating habits, which is assumed forced them from playing quarterback to playing center. There are some tales to support this claim, but even more end up forcing themselves to slam plate after plate of food just to keep the weight on.
A look inside the diets of offensive linemen often reveals outrageous caloric intake requirements to maintain their weight, usually in excess of 5,000 calories per day. Folks who marveled at Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps' 7,000-calorie-a-day requirement don't realize there are scores of Phelpses lining up at the line of scrimmage in 32 different uniforms -- and many more collegiate kits -- every fall.
Thomas was happy to ditch that lifestyle. When his future was uncertain, one look at Thomas' physique post-triceps surgery revealed plenty. He was getting skinny. The end was near.
Fitness magazines and diet enthusiasts everywhere would like to know, Joe: How did you do it?
"You just don't eat until you feel like you're gonna throw up at every meal and all of a sudden the weight falls right off," Thomas explained with a chuckle.
As Thomas charts his course to Canton -- he'll first be eligible in 2023 -- he joins a group of notable linemen, including former centers Matt Birk and Nick Hardwick, to shed their playing weight soon after retiring. We might soon see the trim Thomas on air regularly, too. In the meantime, you can catch him on NFL Total Access at 7 p.m. ET Monday and Inside Training Camp Live on Tuesday.