"I broke a barber's chair," one-ups Ray Brown, a 315-pound Washington Redskin guard. "I was trying to get a shave, and the chair snapped. I was probably a little heavy then, I must admit...."
And so on. It seems the Planetlike Person spends the better part of his summers violently buckling aluminum-framed lawn chairs.
"They make those things for 98-pounders," says Hopkins, whose life is set to a soundtrack of shattering furniture. Each blown-out chair is like a cymbal crash punctuating ridiculous calliope music.
Crash! "I don't know how many times I've sat in a director's chair and just crumpled it," says Parker. "And those aluminum chairs? They just collapse."
Crash! "Just folded to the ground," says Swann, recounting a freak picnicking accident. "Now, that's embarrassing. With a plate of food in my hand...."
And so forth. Each of these men is an awesome force of nature, a weather system unto himself, his path of destruction strewn with twisted metal and fallen timber and the slack-jawed stares of the Non-Enormous. "I just happened to sit on the corner of this table, thinking it was sturdy enough," recalls 340-pound Cincinnati Bengal defensive tackle Keith Rucker, and you think you know where he's going with this one. "And the leg just, like, crumbled. Everyone just stood there in amazement."
And yet, when it comes to man's ability to use his rear end as hydraulic press, Cooper takes the (pan) cake. The tackle had just completed a tryout with the Jets in 1989 when he and four other airbus-sized players sat down in the gate area at La Guardia airport to await a flight. Their five connected chairs—each anchored to a single steel support beam—groaned and then snapped simultaneously, like a five-seat dunk tank.
"We were laughing so hard we couldn't respond to the stewardess who came over to see how we were," says Cooper. "Everybody was laughing. Now that I know better, I should have yelled, 'Whiplash!' "
Lawsuits, windowpane suits, the pursuit of happiness: Their common interests have fostered fraternity among full-bodied football players, whose unifying slogan seems to be, "Ain't he heavy? He's my brother."
And so they are comfortable speaking for one another. "We'd all like to be built like gods," said 300-pound Derek Kennard, who retired from the Cowboys this summer. "Look at Chad Hennings. We'd all like to be built like that. You dream about that. You dream of being a little scatback. But...."