Offensive lineman might be the smartest players from Deion Jones's blog

their helmets scratched and gauged,You see the huge, human frames and the jerseys barely covering the round bellies. Their arms are covered with scrapes and bruises, the paint chipped from opposing facemasks slamming into them.

Every snap looks the same. The ball gets snapped and then, whack, a quick human car crash.

Who in their right mind would want to be an offensive lineman?

They're battering rams. They're the biggest guys on the field. And, unless you know what you're looking at, it all looks pretty brainless.

"Battering ram or brute? That's a really nice way of putting it," former NFL center Nick Hardwick said. "What I think is when most people think of the offensive line, they just think it's a huge fat guy who stands in the way and runs into other fat guys."

While there's some truth in that _ NFL offensive linemen are almost always on the plus side of 300 pounds _ there is also much more to it.

"It takes somebody special to want to do a job that's thankless and that involves donating a significant portion of your body to get the ball to move three yards forward or to protect somebody else," Hardwick said. "You have a lot of very smart guys and you have a lot of very caring guys in that room."

In fact they might be, as a general rule, the smartest in an NFL locker room.

Brian Billick, who won the Super Bowl as the coach of the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, said the offensive linemen are definitely different from the other players.

"They're not meatheads. They're a bunch of old women is what they are," Billick joked. "They're going to complain and get in their knitting circle and (say) 'We're not running enough' this,womens Hunter Henry Jersey, that and the other.

"As a whole, they're probably the brightest position group on the team."

They'll acknowledge they're different. Offensive lineman are the only players who never get to tackle or touch the football. They rarely get attention from fans or the media. And,Authentic Denzel Perryman Jersey, they probably didn't grow up with dreams about blocking for quarterbacks and running backs.

" Hardwick said,Authentic Mike Williams Jersey,"It's fair to say it. Incredibly fair to say that, you have an aggressive streak about you,womens Mike Williams Jersey, laughing. "But you get in where you fit in. You love the game,Authentic Rayshawn Jenkins Jersey, it's a great outlet and you're willing to do whatever it takes just to be a part of the team."

Chargers offensive tackle Russell Okung, who was named to the Pro Bowl this week,womens Dan Feeney Jersey, didn't even want to play football when he was growing up.

" Okung said. "Really,"I was actually forced into football. I grew up this complete nerd. I loved art. I loved computers, 'Hey ... I want to make sure you're going to be a man.' So, I loved all things that weren't football. My mom said, she threw me into football to get disciplined and for character development and integrity stuff.

"And, I just happened to be good at it.",womens Forrest Lamp Jersey

While the league is full of stories about quarterbacks growing up idolizing Joe Montana, Troy Aikman and Michael Vick, Okung said the linemen he's played alongside all had different interests.,womens Dan Fouts Jersey,

Instead of pouring through books and magazines about football greats, Okung spent his time wondering about ancient civilizations and Alexander the Great.Authentic Dan Feeney Jersey

we talk world events. We talk politics. Rarely do we talk about football outside of game plans and issues like that,"Most guys I know, when we sit down and have conversations," Okung said.,Authentic Max Tuerk Jersey

I was so surprised that only the offensive linemen would know about it. I would tell the (defensive backs) and other guys,"Four or five years ago, I went out and ran with the bulls. And,Authentic Hunter Henry Jerseyand they had no idea what I was talking about."

This past season, the Chargers locker room spent a lot of time talking about cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

"If you heard anyone talking about it,womens Max Tuerk Jersey,Authentic Craig Mager Jersey," Okung said, "it's because I brought it up."

The demands of the position require players to look at the defense and try to figure what they're going to do. They have to process all this while matching up with some of the best athletes in the world.,womens Rayshawn Jenkins Jersey,

"I like to say we're the most athletic guys on the field. In my situation,womensv Denzel Perryman Jersey,womens Craig Mager Jerseywho lifts all the weight in the world, you're playing a guy who runs a 4.4 (40-yard dash),Authentic Forrest Lamp Jersey jumps a 40-inch vertical, my job is to stay in front of this guy? Whether he spins or uses power,Authentic Dan Fouts Jersey," Okung said. "And, my job is to stay in front of him and keep him off the quarterback.

" ... But I was coding when I was a teenager. Learning concepts wasn't a hard thing for me."

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By Deion Jones
Added Feb 12


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