Dec. 13, 2011
BY JOHN PAINTER
Antone Davis wants to leave no doubt. His appearance this fall on NBC's "The Biggest Loser" hasn't followed any sort of Hollywood script.
"I can tell you the work has been difficult, far more difficult than anything I've ever done," Davis said. "It's been hard, hard work, and that's including two-a-days, whether in the NFL or college."
This from someone who worked his way to become a two-time All-SEC honoree and 1990 All-American as an offensive lineman at Tennessee. This from someone who trained and willed his way to a first-round NFL Draft selection and a seven-year pro career in Philadelphia and Atlanta.
"Going to the (King Gillette) Ranch and losing the weight is fantastic," Davis said of the Malibu, Calif., location. "But so many people are disillusioned into thinking that somehow it's a secret, a trick or a catch. It's no catch. It's extremely hard work and I never want to go through it again."
Davis, who stands 6-foot-5 and is 44 years old, began the show at 447 pounds. Through Week 12, when Davis advanced as one of three final contestants, he had dropped to 293 pounds for a total loss of 154 pounds. Davis said he weighed more than that all throughout high school in Fort Valley, Ga.
Tonight's live finale (NBC, 9 p.m. ET) marks the final weigh-in, with the winner earning $250,000.
"There are so many people who not only have supported me, but in a round-about way they are inspired," he said. "People have written me saying they are losing weight because of me. Truly, that is the real gem in all this.
"I have been given a gift and had the opportunity to share that gift with so many people, and really all I have to do is be me. They are watching me and they are inspired."
Davis said he learned last spring that the 12th season of the hit NBC show might be looking for retired football players. He jumped at the chance and immediately sent the required photos and bio information.
"My skills I have developed over time, actually starting with a media class I took at the University of Tennessee, helped me deal with the publicity and learn how to speak well, how to answer questions," Davis said. "Definitely, I called up all those lessons and it helped me tremendously to know what to say, how to say it and how to carry myself."
Davis counts his experience on "The Biggest Loser" as a life-changing win for himself and his family. But while the program fits the "reality" moniker, Davis has no interest in returning to that world ever again.
"Once you achieve the result, it truly has been fun," Davis said. "But one of the things we were asked to do was come up with a loved one who you could bring to the ranch, someone you would most want to help.
"I couldn't come up with a single name because the work was so difficult. I wouldn't want to put anyone else through it."