Former Denver Broncos lineman Orlando Franklin is a new man


Big O isn’t that big after a 102 pound weight loss. The self-confidence has grown again.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Once any of these great NFL offensive linemen retire, the first thing they do is lose weight.

Then there is the former Bronco Orlando Franklin. We always called it the Big O.

“I’d like to be called ‘Slim’ right now,” said Franklin during a 9NEWS visit to his apartment this week. “Not Big O. Big O reminds me of who I used to be.”

As a sophomore at the University of Miami, Franklin buried the scales until it reached 355 pounds. At his 2011 NFL combine, it had dropped to 315. We will emphasize that he was 315 in the combine.

“Right after the combine, I remember my first meal,” said Franklin. “I went to the hotel in Indianapolis there, I ordered 20 wings. I had a Philly cheesesteak, I ordered chips. And I had that in Indianapolis. Then I had a flight where I had a layover in Georgia, I had Burger King me had a double whopper with cheese, onion rings and fries and a big cola. And then I came to Miami late at night and got a Big Mac with 20 chicken nuggets. “

A few months later, he was selected by the Broncos in the second round of 2011 draft. There was no off-season that year, but the labor dispute was resolved in late July. His first day as a pro was when Orlando was first chewed on by his offensive line coach.

“Everyone’s reporting to training camp and I’m showing myself back to the Broncos and I’m 337 pounds,” said Franklin. Do the math. That’s 22 pounds more than his Kombinat weigh-in. “And Dave Magazu says, ‘What the hell happened?'”

Orlando got in shape after that, playing at 322 pounds for most of his rookie year. He was a four-year-old starter for a Broncos team that went into the postseason every year – three years in real tackle; one on the left. Started in 70 out of 71 possible games, counting the postseason. And then he got a nice contract to play for the chargers. Even so, Franklin struggled with who he was and what he looked like.

“I used to go to the store and I hated shopping,” he said. “I would go to the store and say, hey, listen, bring me everything you got in a size 46 waist. Bring me everything you got in a 3X. This is how I used to shop.”

There were times when Franklin even put on a football uniform on Sunday and blushed.

“You see the Broncos wear their Color Rush every year,” he said. “I was confident when we were. It’s all right and good, if you are a DB or a linebacker you will look like a carrot. But if you are an offensive linemen you will look like a carp.” Pumpkin in those Color Rush jerseys. Such things as I realized were not happy with the way my life was going. “

After seven years in the NFL, his body was beaten up, but his bank account was in great shape. Orlando and his wife Kiaana settled in a posh neighborhood in Denver. Elway lives a few blocks away.

Finally, Franklin set about shedding pounds. How?

“The why came first,” he said from his basement, which is part Man Cave and part children’s playroom. “And the why was, me and my wife, we’re preparing to welcome our second child. And by this point, when you have two young children, it’s no longer zone defense. Man to man. You take a child and I’ll take the other kid. You have to be able to walk around making sure you’re active. “

Only Orlando found it easier said than done chasing Zade.

“Honestly, what I noticed when I was walking around the neighborhood with him was that he was starting to run and I would say,” Uhh said. I had to grunt to run after him, “he said.” And I said something has to change. “

Franklin and several neighbors got up at 5 a.m. six days a week to run 5 miles. He would use his treadmill on bad weather days. Then he found out what some call the Caveman Diet.

“Paleo. Meat and vegetables,” he said. “As much as you want. I think it’s the easiest diet in the world.”

Orlando picked it up, but then came Thanksgiving, his birthday in mid-December, Christmas, you know how to do it. He found that he had to make another sacrifice.

“So I had to stop drinking (alcohol) too,” he said. “It’s been almost a year. That was a big part of my success.”

Orlando’s scales now read, “I weigh 235 pounds.”

That’s 102 pounds from his first day at training camp with the Broncos, 120 pounds less than his second weight in Miami. The other day the Franklins had two of his former Broncos’ offensive linemates, Chris Kuper and Ryan Harris, for dinner. You have also lost weight, just not as much as Orlando. They started to tease him.

“And I asked her, ‘Do I look bad? Why do you always make fun of me?'” Franklin said. “And Kupe says, ‘It’s not that you look bad. At some point you were the greatest person I’ve ever seen in my life!'”

Nowadays, Orlando’s diet isn’t quite as strict, but his exercise regimen has intensified. The triple bypass, a 110-mile bike ride from Evergreen to Vail, and a half marathon are on his summer schedule.

“It’s absolutely a lifestyle change,” he said. “And it had to happen for me. As soon as I started losing weight, I really gained confidence. Where I really feel like I can talk to anyone, I can turn to anyone.

“Very happy that I made this change myself.”

What hasn’t changed is his love for football. Orlando can hear Broncos speak on The Fan (104.3 FM) radio station and he says he will always be involved in the sport. Only this time, football doesn’t get a Big O, but a man named Slim.

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Janet Smith