At 6 feet 8 inches tall and 380 pounds, for the past few seasons New England Patriots’ offensive tackle Trent Brown has held the honor of being the NFL’s biggest player. But thanks to an offseason that prioritized shedding weight, improving mobility, and addressing issues that had been contributing to calf injuries he suffered the last few seasons, the lineman as likely lost that distinction—and hopes to make turning the corner on him virtually impossible.
After battling a calf injury early last season, Brown set career-best blocking numbers. Then he entered the offseason by getting to work on rebuilding his mechanics while also making the decision to go pescatarian. Due to those changes, Brown says he’s entering this season in the best shape in his career.
GQ sat down with the Brown to discuss the offseason that led to him crushing his contractual and personal weight goals, drinking way too much water, Bill Belichick’s practices, and why going pescatarian wasn’t as difficult as you might guess for the former bearer of the NFL’s heaviest title.
GQ: How has the offseason been?
Trent Brown: I’m ready to go. I crushed all my contractually binding weight goals and I’m working to get even lower. As far as I’m feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually—I’m ready for the season. I’m ready to go all the way, be on the field for 17 games and hopefully 20.
What’s your usual offseason programming look like?
What I’ve learned about myself is I’m not a guy that can take time off. I have to stay on some type of schedule or regimen as far as getting up and doing something every day. So for the first two to three weeks, it will probably be all cardio and footwork, then I’ll start adding in run mechanics so I can build myself all the way back up from a fundamental standpoint. I did the first part of my offseason training in Atlanta with Lily Abdelmak, who is my sprint coach. We worked on a lot of run mechanics. She also has Vince Vance there—he’s an O-line coach. For the second half of the offseason, I came out here to Dallas with Duke Manyweather of OL Masterminds. I’m also with my PT, Adam Malek, and I’ve been doing three-a-days: footwork and o-line drills. I finish up with Adam and we do a lot of mobility, stretching and cardio three days out of the week.
How do you feel the focuses you made to address the calf issues you’ve suffered over the last few seasons will benefit you?
The calf has felt great, and the work I did was also about repairing a lot of scar tissue— strengthening over the calluses that had been created and just smoothing everything out. I’m as mobile as I’ve been since I was a kid, probably. I feel really good and that’s definitely a testament to my diet and the regimen I’ve been on during the offseason.
How do you feel your body has responded to some of the things you’ve done this offseason?
I think dropping 20 pounds definitely goes a long way as far as mobility and helping the way my body moves. I’ve always been an explosive guy, but I feel like I’m that much quicker and lighter on my feet now. My cardiovascular health is definitely better with just not carrying the extra 20 pounds around. By the end of camp I hope to be at around 355. That would be great—it will give myself some leeway between my weight goal and their weight goal for me, so I won’t have to be strict as hell on myself throughout the season. I can live a normal life and afford a cheat meal here and there and enjoy myself — especially when family visits.