Lower than 4 months into 2021, Jon Feliciano already has 17 million the explanation why it paid to by no means hand over on 2020.
If any athlete had an excuse to close it down final 12 months, the Buffalo Payments proper guard may simply elevate his hand — however Feliciano may barely elevate both of his arms final 12 months as a result of 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 nicely and his energy growing by the week — the 6’4’’, 340-pounder was even 20 kilos lighter coming into camp — all indicators have been pointing to having the perfect season of his six-year profession.
Heading into camp in the perfect 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 have 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, although 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.
Successful, nonetheless, is a superb motivator, and with the Payments changing into the shock workforce early within the NFL season, successful 5 of their first seven video games whereas Feliciano was struggling to choose up a 10-pound weight throughout rehab. The workforce’s quick begin — and the growing likelihood of creating the playoffs helped Feliciano focus even more durable to get again on the sector. Not totally recovered however robust sufficient to contribute, Feliciano made his method again to the lineup forward of schedule in Week 8 in opposition to the Patriots.
“It positively helped when the workforce began off sizzling,” Feliciano says. It’s like, ‘Thank God the workforce 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 gained eight of their final 9 regular-season video games, making it to the championship sport earlier than being defeated by the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, 38-24.
Due to his working his method into the lineup, Feliciano was awarded the workforce’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 objective 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 so as 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 already know, getting that proper. Uh, so I’ve rather a lot to show. I need 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 12 months, Feliciano shares on this installment of Muscle and Health’ Successful Technique sequence 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 have been closed, I spent a ton of cash on building a great home gym in my storage. I switched my food regimen up, went from 340 all the way down to 317 for camp. I felt lean and powerful. Then I tear my pec. In spite of everything this, from working into the perfect form of my profession to having a season probably taken away from me — and in a contract 12 months — I cried for a second.
The harm occurred on a Wednesday, however by Friday I used to be already having surgical procedure. They initially instructed me it about 16 weeks to recuperate — that may have been Week 12 — so realizing I’d 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 decide up a dumbbell. We began with a ten kilos on my unhealthy 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 actually, I didn’t really feel very robust the entire season.
2. WORK YOUR BRAIN AS WELL AS YOUR BRAWN
Without any consideration guard, the offense depends on me to do loads 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 attempting to assist our heart by attempting to diagnose what the protection is attempting to do. If it’s a run play I’m letting them know who we obtained, typically I’m making the calls in move safety as to who the operating again has.
My calls set the entire deck for the complete offense, so my job is as a lot psychological as it’s strength and agility. Throughout the offseason and through rehab, my trainers have me attempt to preserve my mind sharp by going by a number of drills. Whereas I’m doing an train, they’ll throw out sure phrases or phrases that I’ll have to recollect and repeat in the course of the exercise. There are additionally loads of occasions I’m going over performs whereas rehabbing. I’ve executed it a lot for therefore lengthy it’s now change 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 suppose we’re simply fats and don’t have any athleticism. We’ve got to be athletic, as a result of we’re going up in opposition to the perfect athletes on the sector — guys who’re 6’6’’, 290, even 315 kilos who can run a 4.4. We’ve got to dam them on each play.
Put it this fashion: If you happen to’re on protection and also you get a sack each sport, that’s a fairly good 12 months. If you happen to hand over 16 sacks, you’re out of the league very quickly.
Guys don’t suppose 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 feel that helps my athletic ability rather a lot. At Payments camp, we do loads of impediment course strikes, and guys are actually shocked on the method 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 loads 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 feels like a good time.
I began hitting the heavy bag over the past 12 months for conditioning on an upper-body day. It’s normally 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 underneath 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 buddy [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 invaluable for a workforce. 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 actually, it’s the identical routine, you’re simply flipping your hips to the opposite aspect. In soccer, simply study to maintain your flexibility — I do loads of yoga to maintain my physique unfastened — and simply observe all the pieces on each side. It’s going to assist.