The Strongest Redskin?
Last offseason, Phillip Daniels attracted headlines for his powerlifting exploits, joining with well-decorated lifting champ Eric Maroscher's Maroscher Powerlifting Team and winning an Illinois state weight class.
Then he came back to the Redskins, and in the first play of the first practice, he tore his ACL.
"You know what, everybody though the powerlifting was the reason I got hurt," Daniels said on Tuesday. "But it wasn't. I mean, ligaments and muscle have nothing to do with each other. The way I train, the way I powerlift and the way I stretch and keep my body stretched out and flexible, it had nothing to do with it. It was just a fluke thing, man. Trying to avoid the quarterback, jumping over a guy at an awkward angle, I hyperextended it out."
So during his year of rehab, Daniels returned to powerlifting. Not only that, he formed a powerlifting gym with Maroscher, the Monster Garage Gym in Illinois. And despite the fact that he turned 36 in March, Daniels continued to improve his numbers; he said he can squat around 750 pounds, the most of his life, and can dead lift
life more than 600. His squat number, he said, would be tops on the Redskins.
"Guys don't squat like that these days," Daniels said. "For me, it builds leg strength. It's hard to move me out of the way unless I let you...With the knee injury, the small muscles that I had to train actually made the bigger muscles stronger. I'm way stronger now than I was. So I'm actually moving faster than I was, moving better than I was."
Have teammates noticed Daniels's body? It's kind of hard to miss.
"He's 10 feet tall and he's got the physique of a body builder," said Mike Sellers, who guessed that he and Daniels are the strongest Redskins.
"He's like a modernized 1975 Chevy Turbocharged," Andre Carter added. "I'm a little bit more leaner but more defined; Phil's massive."
Coincidentally, a few minutes later I ran into Chris Cooley flexing into his brother's video camera; "I'm stronger than Ryan Zimmerman, no questions asked," Cooley said, in reference to this photo. "I'm actually stronger than Brian Orakpo."
The rookie came up and flexed.
"He'll crush me," Cooley admitted. "But I will cheap shot him tomorrow in practice."
I asked Cooley how much he could bench press, and he guessed 375.
"Which isn't bad," he said. "I have no desire to [have] bulk strength any more. I just want to be quick and I want to be strong enough to do what I need to do."
The bench seems to be the number that a lot of people are most interested in. Orakpo says he's maxed at 515. Daniels goes to 450; "my legs [are] my strong point," he said. Sellers didn't want to reveal his max, but "I end my workouts with 408, if that tells you anything," he said. Devin Thomas says he hasn't maxed out since college; he told me to put him down for 365. Santana Moss was doing 315 in this offseason. And Jim Zorn?
"When I worked out?" the coach repeated. "I probably did a single rep at 240, but I wasn't a big bencher. I did bench, but I did all the lifts; I squatted, I power cleaned, I power pulled, I did clean and jerk. You know, I did all the Olympic lifts. I think I was embarrassed about the bench press, so I didn't perfect it, you know what I mean? I'd work on it, but I didn't really try to get this big barrel chest. I did my reps and got off."
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