I'm not sure if you've heard this yet, but Minnesota Vikings cornerback Terence Newman is 40 years old. Well technically he's still 39, but on September 4th and before the seasons starts he'll be 40 years old and still playin an effective role in the NFL. That's pretty crazy, and to do so at a position other than quarterback is even crazier.
On Monday, defensive coordinator George Edwards was asked if he had ever dreamed that he (only 51 years old himself) would ever be coaching a 40 year old player in the NFL.
"I've done it once before," Edwards replied. "When I was in Washington I had Darryl Green. He and Bruce Smith."
Green played to the age of 42 as a cornerback and Smith played until 40 as a defensive end.
For Newman, embarking on his 40th year on earth and his 16th season in the NFL, there's a lot of experience that comes with that. But experience without the physical ability, is nothing more than a coach. There in lies the question...how in the world is Newman still performing at the high level that he is today?
According to Edwards, there are some similarities between Terence and the other 40+ year old players he's seen in the league.
"Anytime you've got a player that has been that productive for that long, they're very special," Edwards explained. "Being able to take care of their bodies, we try to explain that to the young guys, the sooner you start, it's more longevity on your career."
According to Edwards, that piece about "taking care of your body" is the most important part.
"Guys are paying more attention to nutrition and the things that they put into their body, the recovery, how much sleep they're getting," Edwards continued. "That seems to be a common denominator is the attention that they've paid to that off the field as far as what they ate, the rest that they got."
If that diagnosis is at all accurate, and there's really no reason to believe it doesn't play a positive part in the longevity, the Minnesota Vikings are set up to succeed in the future with their new facility at Twin Cities Orthopedics.
"They're not just driving out to McDonald's or Burger King and eating," Edwards said of his players today. "What we have facility wise, what we have right here available to them with our nutrition bar and upstairs in the cafeteria and what they're preparing. I think all of those things in conjunction with their awareness plays a big part in it."
This, along with lacking athleticism, is probably why I never made it into the NFL.
*Takes a bite of his chicken strip as he types*
Who knows exactly how long Newman will continue playing in the NFL, but his example and the convenience of the team's new facility are both serving as a positive for the younger Vikings players on roster. The longer they can hang on and play, the longer the competitive window for this talented team should stay open, right?
I mean, the logic is there!