When the Seattle Seahawks signed Patrick Kerney in the offseason, they believed they were adding one of the NFC's most well-rounded veteran defensive ends – a run stopper, pass rusher and leader. Several months later, he's turned out to be even more, leading the NFL with 13½ sacks and earning his second trip to the Pro Bowl.
Kerney spent some time with Yahoo! Sports last week and explained his sumo-style diet, some of his crazy party attire during his days in college, and why he's getting Lou Diamond Phillips' magazines delivered to his home.
Robinson: Numbers-wise, is this the best season of your career?
Kerney: I definitely think I'm playing as well as I have during my career. I think the numbers are a coupling of that, and the job that my teammates are doing. If you're rushing the passer well, it doesn't matter if the coverage doesn't hold up and the quarterback is able to get rid of the ball. That hasn't been the case. Our coverage has been great and the offense has built leads so we know we can rush the passer.
Robinson: I'm sure your heart goes out to your former teammates in Atlanta, but in a way do you feel like you got lucky and avoided all of that?
Kerney: Yeah, my heart does go out to them. I know what they sacrificed. I know a great deal of the guys and the pride that they take and the work they do. I've been in that situation. I've had two 5-11's and a 4-12 season, all when I was in Atlanta. It's miserable.
Robinson: Do you still have to eat a lot to keep your weight up? I remember hearing stories about you having a crazy eating schedule to keep the pounds on.
Kerney: Yeah, I do. Late in the season, your body can only hold the muscle mass for so long when you're expending so much energy all the time. I have it set up to where I'm down to my best playing weight in December. I start out the season at about 275, and at this point in the season, I'm down to about 268. Really I've found that's my most effective weight against both the run and the pass.
Robinson: How much do you eat in a typical day to keep your weight up?
Kerney: I sit down four times and eat as much as I can those four times. And then I have a couple snacks here and there – a banana here and there, a shake here and there.
Robinson: When you say you eat as much as you can, what are we talking?
Kerney: I have a chef who comes in and prepares my dinners for me. He'll cook up a 12-ounce steak, a bunch of red potatoes, some broccoli, a Caesar salad, and then he'll add a shake on top of that. I'll let that sit for a while, and then before I go to bed, I'll eat as big a plate of pasta as my stomach can handle. Breakfast is usually a bunch of French toast, some oatmeal, three eggs, a bagel, a banana and a shake. Lunch is whatever they are serving that day at the facility. Usually I'll have a lot of whatever that is.
Robinson: You've got to have a hellacious grocery bill.
Kerney: It's a lot of expenses. Doing that, my hyperbaric chamber, and massages – that's what I call putting capital back into the corporation.
Robinson: Being a single guy, when you go out on dates you have to eat a lot, right? Doesn't that bother your dates?
Kerney: Here's the secret: I eat a lot before I go out on a date. That way, when I go out on the date I can eat like a normal person.
Robinson: Have you ever had to explain to someone you were dating that, "hey, look, I have to eat a lot of food four times a day to keep my weight up?"
Kerney: Oh, all the time. My ex-girlfriend, we started dating in the offseason. And right before the season started, I had to have a long sit-down with her to sort of explain how my schedule works.
Robinson: Have you ever contemplated that when you retire and don't have to keep that schedule up, you're going to be walking around as a 220-pound guy.
Kerney: That's what I hope some day.
Robinson: So I've heard from guys that you were a wild man in college at Virginia. I've heard a lot about your party wardrobes. I heard there was a G-sting incident, a Speedo and that you actually showed up to a daytime party naked.
Kerney: (Laughing) Let's see. For a '70s party I went as Mark Spitz, in the appropriate swimming attire. And then for a Bahamas party, I just wore swimwear to that. We'll just call it swimwear, how about that?
Robinson: And the naked incident?
Kerney: (Long pause) Ahhhhh, we all do silly things when we're young, you know? It was many moons ago. I plead the Fifth.
Robinson: I also heard you used to sign your name for your per diem money at Virginia as (The Simpsons character) Ralph Wiggum.
Kerney: (Laughing) Where are you getting this stuff, the CIA?
Robinson: You've got to do your research for these things. That's right, isn't it?
Kerney: Yeah, I did. Even now, I still get magazine subscriptions sent to my house as Ralph Macchio, Lou Diamond Phillips and David Hasselhoff. When people come over to my house, they'll be flipping through a National Geographic and be like "No way! Lou Diamond Phillips used to live here and you're getting his magazines?" And I'm like, "Yeah, how about that!"
Robinson: So how did you get away with picking up your per diem money as Ralph Wiggum?
Kerney: When they would hand us our per diem money, you had to sign for it. There would be a sheet and you had to sign it. My signature may or may not have read Ralph Wiggum. About five or six weeks into it, finally our compliance guy came up to me and was like "You know, we actually need your signature and not Ralph Wiggum's." Five or six weeks in, someone must have been glancing over it and thought "Ralph Wiggum? Oh, it's Kerney. That makes sense."
- Lou Diamond Phillips
- Ralph Wiggum