Don’t Worry About The NFL Lockout Affecting Dwight Freeney’s Physical Conditioning And Preparation For 2011

Don’t Worry About the NFL Lockout Affecting Dwight Freeney’s Physical Conditioning and Preparation For 2011

I have a hard time cheering for the Indianapolis Colts. The reasons don’t matter much, but at the crux of it is the fact that I typically don’t identify well with frontrunners. And though they’ve only hoisted one Lombardi Trophy in the Peyton Manning era, they’ve won an incredible number of games each year. If I recall correctly, marked the first time in eight years that the Colts failed to win 12 games. Incredible. And I hate it. Anyway, one guy that’s quite difficult to cheer against though is Dwight Freeney, the All Pro defensive end that’s looked like he’s been playing in fast-forward compared to his competition along opposing offensive lines since he entered the league back in 2002 (the last time the Colts won fewer than 12 games). As Freeney explains, he’s managed to play at such a consistently high level primarily because of his steadfast approach to taking care of his body — which interestingly enough includes slacking off and indulging from time to time in his regiment.

Freeney joined WDNE in Indianapolis to talk about how the Colts players have handled organizing players-only unofficial workouts, whether he feels it’s important for players to be informing fans of their offseason voluntary workouts while the lockout drags on, how much access he believes fans should he granted, how dealing with the intense pressure and scrutiny is arguably the hardest adjustment young players have to make at the NFL level, when it was in his career that he realized how important it was for him to take immaculate care of his body physically and how best to go about doing that, why it’s important to take a break from a strict diet, nutrition and workout regiment at various points in the year, and how he couldn’t imagine playing anywhere other than Indianapolis at this stage in his career.

On what’s been going on with the Colts in terms of players-only unofficial workouts:

“Well, you know, we’re kind of doing our own thing on our own for the most part. Guys are working out, staying in shape. Maybe some of the receivers, quarterbacks, DBs, linebackers — we all kind of get together and do our own little drills to train as if the season is starting on time.”

If he believes it’s important for players to let fans know about the voluntary workouts they’ve been conducting while the lockout drags on:

“You know what, I think for the most part it’s our responsibility to get ready and do our own thing. If the fans want to know, that’s fine, but at the end of the day, it’s our job and it’s about getting ready, not anything else.”

How much access to players does he feels fans should be granted:

“Well I mean, I think as far as what we do on the field, obviously our sport is what it is because of the fans. And because of that, obviously they have a big stake in what happens to some extent. But also it is a business, and we have people we have to report to, like any other job, what we need to do to support our families. So, to a certain extent, yeah the fans are important because like I said, the game would not be where it is without them.”

If he agrees that adjusting to the incredible intense pressure and scrutiny of the NFL is as hard as an adjustment there is for incoming young players:

“I think definitely it is. That’s a whole other level of pressure. Not only do you have the pressure from your family and your friends, you have the pressure from your fans to do well and also to live a certain lifestyle, and hopefully you’ve been doing that up until that point because it’s definitely an adjustment. But you have to understand it comes with the territory — you have to look a certain way and live a certain lifestyle if you want to be successful in this league.”

At what point in his career did he understand the importance of taking pristine care of his body physically, as well as the best way to go about doing so year round:

“Well the thing most people don’t understand is the players on this team, we’re only going to go as far as our bodies are going to take us. That’s the number one thing you should be worried about. All the other stuff is great, but you still have to live in this body. Even when we’re done playing this game, you still have to be in this body. And this is only a small portion of your life, but while you’re playing this game, you don’t want it to be an excuse as to why you didn’t make the play, why you weren’t there, why you were hurt. You don’t want those excuses so you have to take care of your body. And that’s what I do. That’s my number one priority, to be sure I’m eating the right things. I just want to be able to cut that corner and get that advantage from that standpoint to those guys who are not.”

If he takes a break at any point during the offseason from his strict diet and nutrition regiments:

“Well I think you have to, because you can’t eat the same way every single day or you burn out. You kind of have to have a good time once in awhile because it’s just too much on your body, your mind, to continue on with the strict things because at one point you’re going to bust, you’re going to break. So you kind of have to take it easy a little bit, and then you have to build it back up.”

If he could imagine playing anywhere other than Indianapolis at this stage in his career:

“Absolutely not. This is my home, this is where I’ve been. You know what, I like the whole fact that I’ve been here my whole career. I don’t think it’s happened as much as it used to, and I like kind of the old school way of things in sports that are gone. Like you see a Lawrence Taylor [who Freeney mentioned earlier was his favorite player growing up], he stayed with the Giants. I love for the most part you can stay with your organization whether they’re up or down. Thank God we’ve been up, so we didn’t have to deal with any of those down times. But even if we had, I consider myself a Colt for life.”

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