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Vegan Football Players in the NFL Thriving on the Plant Based Diet

Last updated: February 3, 2021

By now, you already know that veganism is the trend to follow. The plant-based diet is all the rage. Each day, more and more people convert to a vegan diet. However, many believe that athletes wouldn't go vegan because a meat-based diet would provide more protein. Wrong!

Many athletes avoid meat and are going vegan. And, I bet you didn’t know these NFL players are vegan, too!

1. Wesley Woodyard — Linebacker, Tennessee Titans

Wesley Woodyard Smiling

Wesley Woodyard, the Titan's linebacker, has been one of the NFL players since the Denver Broncos signed him in 2008.

Initially, Woodyard didn't want to join the other vegan NFL teammates but wanted to continue eating meat. However, he soon joined the plant-based diet craze.

His performance improved, and the following season was his best.

Wesley Woodyard claims his energy levels have greatly improved since switching to a vegan diet. Woodyard also says he used to take naps regularly to fight fatigue.

But, since Woodyard went vegan, the tackler no longer feels weary.

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2. DaQuan Jones — Nose Tackle, Tennessee Titans

DaQuan Jones wearing a jersey

DaQuan Jones is another one of the Titans following the vegan diet. The Titan is on this list thanks to Derrick Morgan.

Now, many don’t know this, but Derrick Morgan and his chef wife, Charity Morgan, have persuaded many NFL players to go vegan.

DaQuan Jones has been playing for the Titans since 2014. Morgan convinced him to switch to a plant-based diet in 2017.

DaQuan Jones didn’t need much convincing. He switched to a plant-based diet after learning about its health benefits [1] from the Morgans’.

3. Jurrell Casey — Defensive Tackle, Denver Broncos

Jurrell Casey waving

Jurrell Casey is an ex defensive end for the Tennessee Titans. Casey was drafted for the Titans in 2011.

In the beginning, Casey was incredibly skeptical of the plant-based diet, like many other people. He was worried that a vegan diet would damage his strength.

Casey was also concerned that the lack of strength from plant-based foods would make him a worse player.

Luckily, he gave veganism a chance. Since switching to plant-based foods, Casey claims his recovery from games is much quicker and that he has much more energy.

4. Andre Patton — Wide Receiver, Los Angeles Chargers

Andre Patton running

Andre Patton isn't one of the NFL players that have made an enormous impact on the league, yet. The Los Angeles Chargers signed him as a free agent in 2017.

For years, Patton has been swapped from the practice squad to an active rooster a couple of times.

He's quite new to veganism. He switched to plant-based foods a couple of months ago. The main reason for the switch? He doesn't like what the meat industry does to its products.

And, unlike other NFL players, he doesn't even miss eating meat. Patton says that when he's around meat: “it just smells so bad.”

5. Griff Whalen — Wide Receiver, Free Agent

Griff Whalen in a bandana

Griff Whalen is a true journeyman. Throughout his career, Whalen has played for many teams. Currently, Whalen is a free agent in search of a new sports challenge.

Griff Whalen didn’t intend on becoming a vegan in the long run. He decided he was going to eat plant-based meals for 28 days.

However, he saw such incredible results that he became a convert.

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6. Colin Kaepernick — Quarterback, Free Agent

Colin Kaepernick smiling

Colin Kaepernick is one of the NFL players best known for his fight against racism.

Colin is an incredibly talented player. It's a wonder he's been a free agent for years.

Colin Kaepernick went vegan due to ethical reasons.

However, the NFL player claims he’s been feeling much better and healthier since quitting animal products.

7. Tom Brady — Quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

tom brady in a football field

Tom Brady, the 42 years old ex-Patriots quarterback is regarded as one of the greatest players in NFL history. Tom Brady has played for the New England Patriots up until 2020.

He has won six Super Bowl rings during his time with the team. He transferred from New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March 2020.

Now, everyone knows that Tom Brady isn’t 100% vegan. However, I had to include him on this list. Brady may be 80% vegan, but he’s done much for veganism.

The NFL legend has developed vegan dinners called TB12. Brady is happy that many teammates and NFL players consume.

8. Cam Newton — Quarterback, New England Patriots

cam newton laughing

Cam Newton is labeled as one of the most flamboyant NFL players. Newton has been injured the majority of the previous year.

The player credits not eating animal products and focusing on a vegetable-based diet for his injury recovery so far.

When asked about plant-based eating, Newton says:

“It’s not putting certain things in your body that is going to combat your body trying to recover.”

9. Tyrann Mathieu — Safety, Kansas City Chiefs

Tyrann Mathieu smiling

Tyrann Mathieu, best known for his nickname — the "Honey Badger," plays for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Mathieu has quickly turned into a safety superstar. You can bet he lives up to the hype that surrounds him.

Eating plant-based meals helped Mathieu lose 16 pounds!

The player claims that avoiding animal products and focusing on vegan food made him feel better than ever.

10. Theo Riddick — Running Back, Las Vegas Raiders

theo riddick in the field

Theo Riddick is currently playing for the Las Vegas Raiders.

He was in the Denver Broncos last season, but he spent most of it on the injured reserve list.

Like many other athletes, Theo Riddick switched to plant-based eating after watching the popular Netflix documentary What the Health.

Riddick credits the plant-based food for much quicker recovery and improved energy levels.

He also claims he’s ready for another game after a game on Tuesday.

Honorary Mention: David Carter — Defense, Arizona Cardinals

david carter wearing a jersey

Now, David Carter is an ex-NFL, so he gets an honorary mention.

Carter used to eat six double hamburgers, but he switched to plant-based food.

He went from eating dairy to cashew mac and cheese.

Carter was persuaded by a documentary. Forks Over Knives is what pushed him to go vegan and never look back.

Those footballers aren't the only sportspersons who ditched meat. These vegan cyclists and Olympic athletes are also powered by plants and they proved they don't need meat to compete at an elite level..

Vegan NFL Players Should Motivate Us

Many other athletes deserve to be on this list. Each player has shown us time and again that a vegan diet improves energy, recovery speed, and overall strength.

I feel like I said this a million times, but I'll say it again. Meat and animal products aren't the only source of protein. Your body can get enough nutrition from plant-based food even if you're a professional athlete.

You don't have to eat meat and dairy to achieve excellent performance. You can get everything from plants, even more, feel good, and protect animals. So, go on, follow these athletes' examples, and try out plant-based foods.

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  1. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/scientific-benefits-following-plant-based-diet/

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