Defensive tackle John Ridgeway has had a lot change in his life in the past few months. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, made his way to rookie minicamp, signed a contract with the Cowboys, and is now out in Frisco competing for a spot on an NFL defense.
The massive 6-5, 320-pound DT brings size and strength to a struggling defensive line. He will have to compete with guys like Quinton Bohanna to earn a spot, and he knows that won’t be easy. When talking to reporters at rookie minicamp, Ridgeway mentioned that the increased speed and intensity of practice was one of the biggest differences he noticed from college. The Arkansas product also mentioned that it can be hard to keep up with seasoned veterans and Pro Bowlers.
While Ridgeway may have had an inkling that he was being picked by the Cowboys given his Jerry Jones and Arkansas connection, one thing the big guy may not have been expecting was the Texas heat. The Illinois native was losing precious calories to sweat thanks to the over 90 degree temperatures. After day two, he told reporters “it’s hot as f*** in Dallas.”
The heat seemed to be an added element that Ridgeway had to adjust to while he was getting his bearings in Frisco.
Cowboys rookie DT John Ridgeway said he’ll “eat a couple cows” to combat losing weight from heat
For a kid who was likely drafted due to his massive size, Ridgway seemed to be worried about the weight he was losing. The rookie said that he talked to the strength and training staff about the heat. He had apparently already dropped two pounds on day one and was convinced he was going to continue to lose even more weight.
Thankfully, his college days prepared him for tough challenges. In his year at Arkansas, he had to go up against schools like Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and Auburn. Ridgeway was a leader and took on double teamed coverage against some of the best colleges in the NCAA. That kind of strength and talent is what the Cowboys need to do better against the run in 2022. He already told people he is ready to break necks in the NFL, so it’s hard to imagine anything getting in his way.
So, how will he get through the weather challenges? Seems like he plans on taking advantage of the copious amounts of meat in Texas:
"“There’s probably some cows in Texas? You got hogs or something here? Probably eat a couple cows a week or something.”"
He was obviously trying to be funny, but the humidity and heat in Texas are certainly not a joke. That’s a big time adjustment for a big kid from Illinois. Hopefully, he can find a way to get good work in without losing his mass.