Dwight Freeney is still terrorizing quarterbacks.
The 37-year-old defensive end recently signed with the Seattle Seahawks, and his debut proved he’s still got gas in the tank. In 18 snaps, Freeney recorded two pressures and a half-sack to help Seattle triumph over the Houston Texans. His signature spin move looked just as nasty as it did 10 years ago:
This is not normal. Freeney’s the oldest player on Seattle’s roster by a significant margin, and he was actually drafted the same year as the team’s defensive coordinator. He’s by far the oldest defensive player in the NFC West. How is a guy his age able to join a team in the middle of the season and make an immediate impact?
It helps that Freeney was an absolute monster of an athlete when he first entered the league in 2002. At that year’s NFL Combine, he posted a 4.48 40-Yard Dash and a 40-inch Vertical Jump at 6-foot-1, 266 pounds. That’s a mind-boggling amount of speed and explosiveness for a defensive end. To help him keep that elite athleticism intact, Freeney turns to Proactive Sports Performance. While Freeney has trained with Proactive for years, this season presented a unique challenge. Getting in football shape without actually playing the game is notoriously difficult. So how do you prepare a veteran player to hit the ground running in the middle of an NFL season?
“With Dwight being picked up seven games into the season, we found ways to focus on staying ready without actually playing a snap. Those ways included increasing the tempo during our fieldwork days, minimizing the time between sets and exercises, and super-setting an explosive exercise with a quick movement or endurance exercise. For example, Keiser Reaction Power Squats into a quick ladder drill,” Proactive owner Ryan Capretta told STACK. Keiser Reaction Power Squats do not look like they’re for the faint of heart:
Freeney knows that at this stage in his career he’s largely going to be used in pass-rushing downs. To simulate exploding off the edge and bending around the corner against resistance, he utilizes the Vertimax Raptor, which allows for bungee-resisted movements in the horizontal plane:
According to Capretta, Freeney has always been an absolute pro when it comes to recovery. The fact that he had the foresight to take great care of his body before he became one of the oldest players in the league is now paying dividends.
“Dwight has always had an enormous focus on recovery,” Capretta says. “With the combination of pre-hab, yoga, proper nutrition and hours of mobility and flexibility work before and after each workout, he’s been able to recover (very well) throughout the years.”
That’s helped Freeney see very little drop-off in his athleticism and strength over time. I mean, how many 37-year-olds do you know who can Dumbbell Bench Press 150s?
Freeney’s presence on the Atlanta Falcons last season helped that team reach the Super Bowl. Could the ageless pass-rushing wonder do the same for the Seahawks this year? Only time will tell, but he’s clearly still capable of wreaking havoc.
Photo Credit: Otto Greule Jr.