Someone check on Chuck Bednarik and Dick Butkus.
The NFL is a different world these days than when Concrete Chuck and The Enforcer played the game, that's for sure. In fact, it's a time where teams seeking — how should we say it? — alternative methods of training to get stronger and more athletic, and no one bats an eye.
Is this real life?
Red Grange got strong by carrying blocks of ice, up to 100 pounds, up three flights of stairs as a summer job. Vince Lombardi made his players run endless gassers. Bear Bryant used to believe in the power of water deprevation as a conditioning tool. More recently, Jerry Rice caught bricks while working with his father, giving him the strongest and best hands in the biz. Walter Payton used to run up and down a really steep hill.
But training methods have changed. Remarkably so. Not only is the league taking a more scientific approach to its methodology to get bigger, faster, stronger and more flexible, it also has taken a more liberal approach.
There is no stigma anymore, it would appear, for the Cowboys slinging a leg up on the ballet bar to stretch a hammy, or in Rodgers assuming a downward dog in the middle of training camp. It's all about results.
The Cowboys suffering a slew of sprinter-type injuries last season? Boom — more, and better, stretching is on the docket.
"We’ve put an emphasis on addressing, as an organization, some of the injuries that we’ve had,” head coach Jason Garrett said.
Now that he has surpassed the age of 30, Rodgers said he eschewed heavier lifting this offseason for the approach of becoming more lithe and limber in order to stay healthy.
"A lot of flexibility's helping with those injuries as you get older," Rodgers said.
Hey, if it works, why not? No one is questioning these guys' manhoods, at least not publicly.
- - - - - - -