When NFL players say that the locker-room is like a brotherhood, it's not just a casual phrase to appeal to the media. The reality is, an NFL locker-room is very much like a brotherhood — like a family. There will be disagreements, hazing and in-fighting. In some of the more extreme cases, punches will even be thrown. And while that fuels the National media fire, it's the more impressive and uplifting stories that often go overlooked as a result.
Prior to Super Bowl XLVIII, while appearing at an event at MetLife Central, New York Giants kicker Josh Brown sat down and discussed that locker-room dynamic with Giants 101. And what initially started as a casual chat, quickly developed into a tale about one man changing another man's life in ways that he never could have anticipated.
Upon arrival in New York, where he would take over for two-time NFC Championship hero Lawrence Tynes, Brown would promptly meet the ever outspoken Steve Weatherford. And, with Weatherford being the welcoming and friendly person that he is, the two would develop a bond.
It was that bond which led to some very significant changes in Brown's life.
"Just watching the way he lives his life and how he takes care of his body; his nutrition and how disciplined he is. That's the message — just watching him. It's helped me lift better, eat better, take care of myself better, understand what I'm putting in my body better. It helped me change my point of view in regards to how I think about food. Rather than just eating all of it, I actually fuel up and eat the appropriate things," Brown told Giants 101.
The results were not subtle. And despite being a 12-year NFL veteran — three years Weatherford's senior — the lessons learned from the colorful punter's lifestyle would dramatically alter Brown's outlook on physical fitness, healthy eating and, ultimately, the way he lived his own life.
"My relationship with Steve has had a big impact on my life," Brown said. "I've lost 24 lbs., 9% body fat. It's been life altering for me."
The change was also a matter of setting pride aside. Despite being a longer tenured NFL athlete and a few years older than his teammate and friend, Brown admits that he just had to let go and ride Weatherford's "coattails" — not because that's what Weatherford had asked or demanded, but because that's what was necessarily to improve himself.
"He's a high-energy guy. You have to ride coattails sometimes, even if you're older and have more experience in the league. You can never stop learning, and I've learned a lot from Steve," he said. "And I will continue to draw as much out of him as I can.”
How far Brown plans to take things remains to be seen, but competing with his buddy for the cover of Men's Fitness is not entirely out of the question — even if his spread isn't as "sexy" as Weatherford's.
"We'll call them. I mean, if they would do it, I'd take my shirt off. I don't know if it'd be as sexy, but we can definitely give it a shot," Brown joked.
Although Brown had not yet talked contract with the Giants at the time of this interview, he made it abundantly clear that New York is where he wants to be. And with an organization like the Giants, a venue like MetLife Stadium and, most importantly, a friend like Steve Weatherford, who could blame him?
Mario Scipioni of Jets 101 helped contribute to this story.
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