This story originally appeared in the October 19 edition of the team's Hawk Mail newsletter. To subscribe to Hawk Mail, click here.
There's a lot of preparation that NFL players endure during the week to prepare for games. From treatment, to practice, to talking to the media, there are a lot of factors that help some of the most physically intimidating human beings perform at the highest level.
One of the biggest factors that takes places during that week of preparation is nutrition and eating the right foods to prepare your body for the physical toll it's going to take. If you eat poorly, you'll probably feel it on the field.
While most players eat one of the most standard and consistent meals on gamedays — pasta and some sort of protein, most likely chicken — some players have different routines to get them right before taking the field. Remember, we all have different bodies.
Here are five weird food-related gameday rituals Seahawks players take part in to get them right:
1. Nick Vannett Enjoys His Burritos
At 261 pounds, Seahawks tight end Nick Vannett likes to keep his stomach full before games by loading up on carbs and protein. A new strategy Vannett started in 2017 is helping him with that while also giving him optimal energy.
"I usually eat something with a lot of carbs," Vannett explained. "So for home games, I usually eat a Chipotle burrito – rice, chicken, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, guacamole.
"I feel like it gives me a lot of energy and since I've been doing it I feel more energized during the game," Vannett said. "I feel better."
2. C.J. Prosise Keeps It Plain
Running back C.J. Prosise doesn't eat much before games. As he described, the butterflies in his stomach typically cancel out his appetite for the day.
However, when he does in fact eat a meal, his go-to is one of the best lean proteins athletes consume: grilled chicken. It's a ritual he's stuck with since playing collegiately at Notre Dame.
Yet Prosise is a little different and prefers to have his chicken the way most people don't.
"Just plain," Prosise said. "I really can't eat anything like that on gameday so I just get a couple of pieces of grilled chicken and pasta."
When I grilled (pun intended) Prosise later on why he eats his chicken plain, he responded with the following: "On gamedays I can't taste nothing, so even if I threw something on there I'm not going to taste it."
Sometimes keeping things plain and simple works, I guess.
3. Some Players Don't Like To Eat At All
If you ask players around the NFL, surprisingly, a solid amount of them keep their food consumption very low or don't even eat at all on gamedays. The reason why? Some athletes, such as Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson and linebacker D.J. Alexander, prefer to play on an empty stomach and don't want to take the risk of something coming back up or not digesting properly while they're on the field.
4. Football And Chill(i)
He typically eats chicken and pasta with a side of fruit pregame, but for the past three years, Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright gets a special dish made by his wife whenever he returns home from a long road trip: chili. Wright, who was born in Memphis and went to high school in Mississippi, definitely knows a thing or two about good comfort food.
Whenever Seattle travels a long distance for games (for example, this weekend to New York to play the Giants), he has a warm bowl of beef chili with a side of cornbread — which he crumbles and puts in the dish — waiting for him at home. The chili recipe is pretty traditional but Wright says one major key to making the dish special is Slap Ya Mama seasoning, a Cajun seasoning used in southern dishes like gumbo, pork chops, grits and more.
"I sprinkle a little cheese, a little sour cream and put the cornbread in and stir it up," Wright said.
After hours on the field and through the air, it's definitely a relaxing meal that can bring anybody back down to earth.
"It makes me feel good on the inside," Wright said. "I love it, I've got to have it. If I don't have it I'm upset."
5. Say Cheese
For the last four years, Seahawks Pro Bowl and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman hasn't changed his pregame meal. One of Sherman's favorite things to do on gameday is to eat a grilled cheese sandwich on wheat bread hours before kickoff. As mentioned above, consuming a grilled cheese might not be the best for every athlete, but we all have different bodies. This has worked well for Sherman and his over the years.