Miami Dolphins rookie fullback Jorvorskie Lane was a standout for the Texas A&M Aggies from 2005 through 2008, gaining over 2,000 yards on the ground, and scoring 49 rushing touchdowns. He was expected to make some sort of splash in the NFL right away, but emotional issues took those chances away for a while. Before he knew it, Lane had put on serious weight, and was stuck moving furniture for a living, his dreams of pro football seemingly behind him.
"Before I knew it, I was 300 pounds," Lane recently told Yahoo! Sports. "It's easy to put on, and hard to get off."
Before his senior season at A&M, Lane's grandfather passed away. Lost without the man who raised him, Lane started gaining weight, and was switched from halfback to fullback.
"I came out of high school at 270, so I was naturally big," Lane recalled. "But when I lost my grandfather, that's when it started -- that's what triggered it. Eating was comforting me. I didn't really know what I was doing. It got out of hand."
Lane was 318 pounds at his heaviest, which made him an unappealing selection in the 2009 NFL draft. He was unpicked and unsigned, and as far away from the NFL as he could be. It took a rude awakening for Lane to turn himself around.
"My 25th birthday -- that's when everything changed," he said. "I was watching my high school highlights, and I was like, 'Man -- this is where I want to be. This is what I want to get back to.'"
But at that point, Lane was working for a furniture store in Texas. He had to take it upon himself to get back in shape, embrace fitness in a new way, and change his lifestyle.
"The whole time I was losing weight, I got away from football," Lane said. "I didn't do cone drills or none of that. I was catching myself running stairs and bleachers all day, sparring, and I was seeing results. I fell in love with it, and that's what I've been doing ever since."
Lane's wife Chan picked up the slack with their young family, putting extra effort into the day-to-day with their three children, while he got back into shape.
"I really owe a lot to my wife, because she knew what I wanted to do, and that was to play football."
Eventually, the NFL came calling. When former A&M head coach Mike Sherman became the Dolphins' offensive coordinator before the 2012 season, he heard that Lane had made great strides. Miami invited Lane in for a tryout, but general manager Jeff Ireland had Lane on a weight goal from the first phone call.
"At the time, I was 267," he recalled. "He said, 'If you come in at 264, that will show me more commitment. You think you can do that?'"
Lane did it, and signed a three-year, $1.44 million contract with the Dolphins on June 5. A nice number, but as Lane remembers, he didn't see that money right away. In fact, he lost a bit of it after he regressed in his goals. He also learned that the NFL keeps very sharp tabs on your weight.
"A lot of people don't know that in this profession, you get fined for being overweight. I learned this the hard way -- I was fined right before training camp. I came in at 260; I was supposed to be at 258. They fined me $1,455. So basically, I played the whole preseason for free."
Now, Lane and his family enjoy a healthier lifestyle, and it's improved their lives beyond the game.
"It's 10 times better," he said. "My biggest change was no bread, no sugar, and not eating after 9 p.m. My favorite thing is chicken and fish, and my vegetables.
"Once you're staying green, and a lot of protein, you can't go wrong."
Lane isn't just doing this for himself and his family -- he also wants to honor the memory of his grandfather, who told him that he would make the NFL someday.
"He always told me, 'I know you're going to get there. It's going to take a little work, but you're going to get there.' And now, I'm playing for the Miami Dolphins."