In a league of big, strong, and skilled individuals, offensive lineman Trent Brown stands out amongst the crowd.

Listed at 6’8” and 380 pounds, he’s officially the biggest player in the NFL. With nimble feet and the ability to move large humans with ease, there are several teams that will be in line to secure his services when free agency opens on March 16.

Coming off a campaign in which he set career highs in pass-blocking grade (81.2) and overall grade (77.6) despite missing time due to a calf strain, Brown headed into the offseason with a focus to get to the root of the calf issues that have plagued him the last few seasons. The 28-year-old added more flexibility training along with prehab methods and preventive training techniques into his routine to help better his mechanics. He also made the decision to adopt a pescatarian diet, eliminate alcohol, and mostly all carbs. All these major changes are to help ensure that he’s at his best physically to remain on the field going forward.

We caught up with Trent Brown before free agency to discuss the changes he’s made, his two stints in New England, the private performance facility he’s building in Atlanta, and what he’s looking for in free agency.

Trent Brown training with his teammate from the New England Patriots
Husani Spann/@Husani_asscher/Instagram

With headed into this offseason as a free agent, what are some things you wanted to prioritize?

The last couple of years I’ve been struggling with calf strains. I’ve been staying on the program the Patriots gave me and that’s why I’ve been working closely with Ms. Karen [Warren], who is my physical therapist in Atlanta. Just trying to correct some compensation patterns that I’ve built up over the years. It’s just to help get to moving properly. If my glute is not firing here then that’s not allowing me to get the proper dorsal flexion and calf and leg extension, knee drive and all this stuff, which is making me put all of the strain in my calf and Achilles, which is bad also. I’m just trying to make sure I’m moving properly now but still be effective in my movements.

I like to train like a skill player and not a lineman. I incorporate some of my movements into what we do but I don’t just like to do brute strength because I would rather be quick and nimble. If you look at [this year’s], those dudes are moving, so I feel like I just have to stay ahead of that curve. I’m not trying to stay in caveman football and we’re moving into The Jetsons.

In the past, I’ve really just leaned on athleticism and God-given ability and have gotten by with that.

But how I trained in the past, just isn’t working anymore and it’s time to do some things differently. I’m not saying that that stuff didn’t work as far as getting in shape, but I was obviously training improperly. It’s still taking that same mindset and attitude but going with a different approach.

What are some of the ways you’re training differently now?

I start every workout with quite a bit of toe raises and then Ms. Karen puts me on the Redcord and that wakes up my core. She puts me in a lot of positions that helps get deeper down into the core of the muscle, it wakes that up and get them firing. Then I go train after that. Everything is firing and I’m training proper patterns as I’m training, so I’m not out there just doing a basic warmup and going right into training. I’m doing specific movements and I’m basically rebuilding everything I’ve learned over the years. I’m training running mechanics, and everything is different. I’m about to be a sprinter. The next Olympics, I’m in there.

Training is one thing but eliminating things from your diet that have been constants is major. Why did you make the decision to remove pork and beef?

Over the course of time, you know how your body feels when you eat certain foods. When I would eat pork and beef, my body would feel heavy and bloated for days. When I eat seafood, I would feel light and I wouldn’t feel stuffed and miserable when I got up from the table. As far as the bread, yeast adds to that bloating. I’ve just been trying to stay on the lighter side of things, eating a lot of seafood and nothing but vegetables.

NFL pro football player Trent Brown working out with his trainer
Husani Spann/@Husani_asscher/Instagram

With the nagging injuries you’ve had over the last few seasons, how have you found a way to still stay engaged with the team but also not try and rush back because of the internal and external pressure to be on the field?

I live by this quote, and I’ve said it in interviews before: “I don’t live by their compliments, so I won’t die by their criticism.” You do feel alienated when you’re a pivotal part of the team and you’re hurt. You have fans on social media, and you don’t even want to get on there when you’re injured. You don’t want to show your face in public. With any interview you’re doing, they’re asking when you’re coming back. Even when you’re in the team facility, you feel like it’s all eyes on you.

People that would usually walk up to you in the morning and speak with a great attitude, now they’re looking at you sideways, like, “Damn, when the f**k are you going to get back on the field?” That’s how you feel. I have to follow a timetable that the professionals in the training room are giving me and the people that I trust outside of that. In those moments, you have to dig deeper and believe in yourself even more so than you do when you’re at the top of the mountain. Not to say you’re not still at the top of the mountain, but you feel like a shell of yourself and it’s like an out-of-body experience when you’re injured. It’s like damn, this is what life is like without football, huh? I’ve always been a self-starter and I take little things like that and it motivates me to go harder.

What are some things you took away from your two stints in New England?

My first stint was amazing. You get to play with Tom Brady — that was motivation in itself. He makes you believe in yourself on a different level because of the things he’s accomplished, the skill, mentality, and the mindset he approaches each day with, and just how he treats people. I had coach Dante Scarnecchia and what an amazing guy. He’s this small, old man on the outside but he still talks sh*t with the best of them and he’s going to give it to you straight. That’s something I really respect most about that organization. It’s just an entire bunch of straight shooters. They have their expectations and you either meet them or you won’t be there and it’s just as simple as that. I think in a lot of places, not just sports, personal feelings affect day-to-day decisions when it shouldn’t. It should just be about the business and what’s best for the business.

My second stint, I was one of the big guys on the block. Even though I was only there a year for the first stint, it was still like I had to be one of those guys that upholds that standard and the Patriot way to show the younger guys what it takes to win. I think we did pretty damned good to have a rookie quarterback. We got to the playoffs. Yeah, we got our ass kicked, but we went to the first round of the playoffs with a pieced-together secondary also and no one will ever talk about that. We had a lot of injuries and it’s no excuses because you still have to go out there and play ball. Even though the score didn’t reflect it, we had a couple of opportunities to win that ball game in that second half. It just got out of hand. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world because I still got to play my seventh year in the NFL and my seventh year of living my dream.

NFL player Trent Brown doing sled push exercises to build athletic performance
Husani Spann/@Husani_asscher/Instagram

Away from the field, you’re working on opening a private performance facility in Atlanta. Why is this something you wanted to do?

This was pretty much a no-brainer just because in the heart of Atlanta, you don’t really have a training facility that offers everything. You then have the content aspect, and we all know content is king and social media runs the world. That alone will attract a lot of people, not just athletes. You’re going to have rappers, artists, and people from all walks of life that want to come in. What I picture it to become is not just a training facility but an athletic club, where it turns into something like a Soho House. People of all walks of life can come here, train and feel comfortable. You have access to chefs. You have your pictures so people can know what you’re doing and what we do here. We’re going to have PTs and massage therapists. I just wanted this to be that one-stop-shop because a lot of facilities in Atlanta don’t offer that place where you can get everything you need, and it’s tailored specifically to you.

With free agency approaching, what are you looking for with your next situation?

I’m going into my eighth year and I’ve moved around a lot. My longest stint with one team has been three years. What I’m looking for is a team where I can build a legacy and play another seven to eight years. Winning is first and foremost and going to a winning program. Building a legacy because that will help build my brand for things after football. I’m not really interested in one of these deals where I’m there one year, maybe the next and I’m in the same predicament. I’m looking for somewhere I can call home, my kids can start going to school and we can plant some roots to get out in the community and do some other things.

All of this moving around each year makes these inclinations tough. Yeah, you can still pick up the phone and call people but it’s nothing like being able to call those people and be able to shake their hands, look them in their eye to get things accomplished. So, first and foremost, I’m looking to win. Second, build a legacy. Third, plant roots and finish out my career with one organization.

You can follow Trent Brown on Twitter @Trent