DEUCE LUTUI WAS drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2006 and looked a top prospect as an offensive guard.
His speed and aggression, allied with a natural build borne out of his Tongan heritage, had Lutui earmarked for a long and successful career in the NFL.
Flash forward five years and the Tongan, by now a US citizen, was released by the Cardinals.
A harsh reality of diminishing returns was brought home when he failed a physical with the Cincinnati Bengals that same year.
The 29-year-old stepped back from the game and is now back and preparing for a new NFL season with the Seattle Seahawks.
A part-time vegan
Lutui is putting down his renaissance to what he is describing as a ‘vegan diet’.
The guard has shed more than three stone (46 pounds) in four months after cutting out red meats and dairy products.
In a move that could perplex vegans out there, Lutui explained that he is still eating fish and chicken aklong with thrice daily protein shakes. He said:
A lot of people wouldn’t call it vegan, but as the vegan concept goes, it is something I eat pretty much vegan throughout the week.
Lutui added, “Breakfasts are heavy on fruit. Giant salads loaded up with beans, tomatoes and avocado often carry meals later in the day. Brown rice is another staple.”
The 29-year-old is the younger cousin of Vai Sikahema, who became the first Tongan to appear in the NFL when he played for the Cardinals in 1986.
He was signed up by his former coach at Arizona, Pete Carroll in early April and has received positive feedback for his pre-season training efforts.