Griff Whalen of the Miami Dolphins is the consummate NFL underdog. He is a smallish receiver at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds. Whalen also went undrafted out of Stanford and had to fight for a roster spot in each of his four pro seasons.
Whalen says he must use every advantage he can get, which is why, two years ago, he decided to go on a vegan diet, eschewing red meat and seafood. It is part of Whalen’s goal to extend his NFL career and get an edge on his competition wherever possible.
“It doesn’t matter how hard you train, there’s a certain limit to how much you can do on the field or in the weight room,” Whalen said. “After a point, nutrition plays a huge part in how quickly you can recover, how hard you can push yourself the next day, back-to-back days and stuff like that. I feel like it’s helped me tremendously and given me a big edge in that regard.”
Whalen said it hasn't been hard to maintain his playing weight despite his diet. He started organized team activities at 195 pounds and said he dropped to 190 after recent workouts and practices.
Whalen says his plant-based diet has sparked curiosity among his Dolphins teammates.
* Content for this page was excerpted from a 2016 ESPN article by James Walker.