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The NFL’s big men agree: New jerseys make us look fat, even when we’re not

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

Alex Boone of the 49ers, possibly Photoshopping himself to look thinner. (Getty Images)

Surprise, surprise -- some of the NFL players you'd think would care the least about personal appearance actually do notice when you note, and they're not at all happy about the ways in which Nike's new uniforms, introduced for the 2012 season, fit their forms. To be specific, the offensive and defensive linemen, frequently known as the "big fatties" for obvious and legitimate reasons, are not amused by the cuts of the new jerseys.

"I hate them. They are built for thin guys," San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone told the Wall Street Journal. "It makes me look like I have big old love handles."

It's not just the players who are aghast; it's the people whose opinions matter most to them. Like Boone's wife, who upon seeing her husband in his new duds, "said, 'It looks like you ate a small baby.'"

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Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Terrence Cody, who weighs at least 350 on his most diet-friendly day, agreed. "I don't really care for the new jerseys. I feel like they should put different material in for the big guys."

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Then again, as B.J. Raji proves, it ain't always the jersey's fault. (Getty Images)

There is actually a school of applied thought behind tight jerseys for linemen on both sides of the ball -- decades ago, a wave of players started wearing smaller jerseys, and even started spraying them with silicone, to prevent opponents from holding them at the shirt level. However, the NFL's current pit residents believe that Nike's taken it a bit too far.

Nike, of course, disagrees. Per a statement to the WSJ:

"We have 40 years of experience in the football business and the idea in our products is for optimal performance and we work with the athletes to find fit and function. The uniforms are available in a variety of sizes and cuts for different players with enhanced performance in mind."

Not good enough for guys like 49ers guard Leonard Davis, who told the WSJ that the new jerseys hike up to the point where he's constantly pulling them down. This, Davis added, despite the fact that "I don't even play that much."

"It feels like it tightens up and stuff, it's hard to breathe, it constricts," Cody said, adding that when the jerseys shrink on contact with water, "[they're] kind of ruined." When the Ravens beat the Cleveland Browns in last Thursday's rain-heavy game, Cody said that his jersey was "jacked up" after every passing down.

Not every big man is on board with the idea that the new jerseys are problematic. Ravens offensive tackle Ramon Harewood says that those who complain simply "like to look pretty" and be "swagged up."

"They say you have to look good to play good," Harewood concluded in the article. "I don't believe that."

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