Lower than 4 months into 2021, Jon Feliciano already has 17 million the explanation why it paid to by no means quit on 2020.
If any athlete had an excuse to close it down final yr, the Buffalo Payments proper guard may simply increase his hand — however Feliciano may barely carry both of his arms final yr attributable to a pair of debilitating accidents.
The anchor of the Payments offensive line started 2020 by present process underwent left rotator cuff surgical procedure in January. Together with his rehab going effectively and his energy growing by the week — the 6’4’’, 340-pounder was even 20 kilos lighter coming into camp — all indicators had been pointing to having the most effective season of his six-year profession.
Heading into camp in the most effective form of his profession, his worst-case situation grew to become a actuality final August — Feliciano suffered an excruciating Grade 3 tear of his proper pec throughout a freak bench-pressing accident. His early ideas had been that the harm was a season-ender.
“I’ve had a lot of bumps and bruises with soccer, however nothing ever made me throw up from the ache,” Feliciano recalled. “I used to be telling my spotter to not contact the bar, and as I used to be pushing, I felt the ligament in my pec snap. It felt like sluggish movement, though it occurred quick.”
Two days later, Feliciano underwent surgical procedure and was positioned on Injured Reserve in September. It additionally meant practically two months away from weight training.
Profitable, nonetheless, is a good motivator, and with the Payments changing into the shock group early within the NFL season, successful 5 of their first seven video games whereas Feliciano was struggling to select up a 10-pound weight throughout rehab. The group’s quick begin — and the growing likelihood of constructing the playoffs helped Feliciano focus even tougher to get again on the sector. Not absolutely recovered however robust sufficient to contribute, Feliciano made his means again to the lineup forward of schedule in Week 8 in opposition to the Patriots.
“It undoubtedly helped when the group began off sizzling,” Feliciano says. It’s like, ‘Thank God the group is successful.’ I’m right here doing my work to get again on the sector they usually’re dealing with their enterprise proper now. There’s a possible for me to be in much more video games than I initially thought.”
With Feliciano again within the lineup, the Payments received eight of their final 9 regular-season video games, making it to the championship recreation earlier than being defeated by the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, 38-24.
Due to his working his means into the lineup, Feliciano was awarded the group’s Ed Block Braveness Award. And this previous March, Feliciano re-signed with the Payments for 3 years, $17 million. Now completely wholesome he says, his low season purpose is to strengthen his upper body again to pre-injury ranges. Feliciano says this requires an low season routine of excessive reps on the bench press to be able to regain his vary of movement. His exercises have additionally included loads of offensive line work, together with a lot of ladder drills for developing foot work, together with a heavy dose of heavy bag pounding.
“I nonetheless really feel like I’ve rather a lot to show,” Feliciano says. “I didn’t really feel wholesome in any respect until now. I’m nonetheless. Like till the until now I’m nonetheless doing rehab for my circumstance, you realize, getting that proper. Uh, so I’ve rather a lot to show. I wish to show what sort of participant I’m once I’m, once I’m wholesome.
Along with explaining the mindset it took to get again on the sector final yr, Feliciano shares on this installment of Muscle and Health’ Profitable Technique collection his ideas which have led to his profitable NFL profession, an AFC East title, a brand new contract, and what’s in retailer for him after life within the NFL.
1. STOP DWELLING, START WORKING (AGAIN)
I used to be already rehabbing my left rotator cuff, which I had surgical procedure on in January 2020. Due to COVID-19, all of the gyms had been closed, I spent a ton of cash on building a great home gym in my storage. I switched my food plan up, went from 340 right down to 317 for camp. I felt lean and powerful. Then I tear my pec. In any case this, from working into the most effective form of my profession to having a season probably taken away from me — and in a contract yr — I cried for a second.
The harm occurred on a Wednesday, however by Friday I used to be already having surgical procedure. They initially advised me it about 16 weeks to get better — that might have been Week 12 — so understanding I might be capable to get again on the sector final season was nice motivation.
It took about six weeks earlier than I used to be capable of choose up a dumbbell. We began with a ten kilos on my dangerous pec, and 90 with the opposite. That went on for about two weeks. About eight weeks then I began doing like six, 50 kilos, 60 kilos. However truthfully, I didn’t really feel very robust the entire season.
2. WORK YOUR BRAIN AS WELL AS YOUR BRAWN
With no consideration guard, the offense depends on me to do plenty of issues. We get the play from [Bills quarterback] Josh [Allen]. We break the huddle, and as I’m strolling as much as the road, I’m making an attempt to assist our heart by making an attempt to diagnose what the protection is making an attempt to do. If it’s a run play I’m letting them know who we bought, generally I’m making the calls in cross safety as to who the working again has.
My calls set the entire deck for all the offense, so my job is as a lot psychological as it’s strength and agility. Through the offseason and through rehab, my trainers have me attempt to preserve my mind sharp by going by a bunch of drills. Whereas I’m doing an train, they’ll throw out sure phrases or phrases that I’ll have to recollect and repeat throughout the exercise. There are additionally plenty of occasions I’m going over performs whereas rehabbing. I’ve completed it a lot for therefore lengthy it’s now turn into second nature for me.
3. NEVER JUDGE THE BOOK BY ITS COVER
I’m 6’4” and weigh over 300 kilos. As an offensive lineman, individuals assume we’re simply fats and don’t have any athleticism. Now we have to be athletic, as a result of we’re going up in opposition to the most effective athletes on the sector — guys who’re 6’6’’, 290, even 315 kilos who can run a 4.4. Now we have to dam them on each play.
Put it this fashion: When you’re on protection and also you get a sack each recreation, that’s a fairly good yr. When you quit 16 sacks, you’re out of the league very quickly.
Guys don’t assume I can transfer the way in which I can. I’m actually good at basketball — I used to be a basketball participant first in highschool — and I believe that helps my athletic ability rather a lot. At Payments camp, we do plenty of impediment course strikes, and guys are actually shocked on the means I transfer. We even have dodge ball video games, and I can dodge the hell out of dodge ball.
4. KEEP MOVING YOUR ‘GOAL’ LINE
Proper now I’m doing plenty of boxing/MMA work to assist my punch in soccer. It’s mainly the identical factor — I’m “punching” a dude on each play. However being UFC heavyweight champion of the world seems like a good time.
I began hitting the heavy bag over the last yr for conditioning on an upper-body day. It’s often 5 three-minute rounds — it’s the toughest conditioning I’ve been doing. After that I’m dying.
The heavyweight division within the UFC solely goes as much as 265 kilos. Proper now, I’m strolling round at round 330. For one factor, getting my weight below management will set me up for a more healthy life after soccer. However I’m tremendous aggressive, and I fell in love with MMA. My good pal [UFC welterweight] Miguel Baeza retains inviting me to come back practice with him, I simply haven’t gotten off of my toes but to do it.
5. THERE’S VALUE IN BEING VALUABLE
Being versatile not solely makes you a greater athlete, it makes you extra beneficial for a group. For the primary 4 years of my profession, I used to be the backup swing man in Oakland. I needed to play all three inside positions in case somebody went down. So once I transitioned to Buffalo, it was simply second nature for me to do it. And truthfully, it’s the identical routine, you’re simply flipping your hips to the opposite aspect. In soccer, simply be taught to maintain your flexibility — I do plenty of yoga to maintain my physique free — and simply apply all the pieces on either side. It’s going to assist.