I had a chance to catchup with former Gophers center Greg Eslinger, a three-time All-American who won the Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy during his terrific college career.
Eslinger spent three seasons in the NFL with Denver/Cleveland before retiring from football. He now lives in Fargo with his wife and three young sons, ages 4, 3 and six months.
"You miss a lot of the stuff [about football]," Eslinger said. "You mostly miss the locker room, especially this time of year. You obviously miss the sport, but it’s a little easier on my body what I’m doing now than what I was doing."
Eslinger works for a medical company that sells knee and hip replacements. He's present during surgery in case doctors have questions.
"I spend a lot of my days in cold OR rooms," he said.
Eslinger was one of the most competitive athletes I've ever covered and he's found an outlet for that post-football. He's lost about 70 pounds (he's down to 230) and competes in marathons and mini-triathlons. He's considering competing in a half triathlon next year.
Eslinger also will be inducted into his high school's Hall of Fame in Bismarck in a few weeks. His reaction was typical Eslinger, who always tried to avoid the spotlight as a player.
"I don’t know why they picked me," he said. "They had plenty of good choices from that school. They must have drew me from a hat or something."
Eslinger still watches most Gophers games on TV and tries to attend at least one game each season.
"Looks like Jerry Kill has them going in the right direction," he said.
Eslinger toured TCF Bank Stadium when he lived in Chaska a few years ago.
"Boy, it would have been really nice to play in that," he said. "Nothing against the Metrodome, but wow, that place is nice."