Our weekly Q&A is with New York Jets nose tackle Damon Harrison, who has one of the best nicknames in the NFL -- "Big Snacks." Defensive line coach Karl Dunbar gave him the name because of his voracious appetite.
Two years ago, you were a relative unknown at William Penn University in Iowa. Now you're finishing your first season as a starter in the NFL. Tell me what it's been like:
DH: It's been a fun ride. All the credit goes to the guys on the defensive line and Coach Dunbar and Rex (Ryan) for having the faith in me. Without them, I wouldn't be in this position. It's definitely not all me. Without those guys, I'd be just somebody else on the roster.
Do you ever take a moment at a game to reflect on how far you've come, from an undrafted free agent to a productive starter?
DH: I do that every week, just living in the moment. During the warmups, if you watch, there's always a moment I'm by myself, just looking around. During the course of a game, it always seems surreal to me, thinking about where I came from and last year to this year. I always take a moment some time during the game. Even during practice, I'll walk up to Kenrick (Ellis) and say, 'This is crazy, man, we're doing this for a living.'
You have to be excited about the future of this defensive line.
DH: The sky's the limit, man. With players like Muhammad (Wilkerson), taking a step to the next level, and Sheldon (Richardson) ... he's only a rookie and he hasn't even come close to his ceiling. (Leger) Douzable is a rotation guy and Kenrick, too. With Q (Quinton Coples) off the edge, it's crazy, man. We could be a scary group of guys.
Do you get recognized in public?
DH: A lot of times, I get confused with Willie (Colon). When we do the Jets walk (through the stadium parking lot), you have people in the crowd yelling your name. I try to wave to everybody. One guy yelled, 'Hey, Snacks, I love you!' I turned around to look at him and he wasn't even looking at me; he was looking at Willie. That was funny. Me and Willie laugh about it every week because there's always someone who confuses him for me. Even around the city, they confuse him for me.
Does anybody call you Damon anymore or is it Snacks all the time?
DH: Everybody, man. They all love the name, so they don't even call me by my real name. It's just Snacks. Even my mother calls me Snacks. I learned to embrace it.
What are your plans for the offseason?
DH: I'll take a couple of days off, but I'll be right back at it within a week. I can't afford to take time off. I've got to be there to take the next step like Mo did, going into his third year. It's all about progression in life. I don't want to look back at the end of the offseason and wish I had done something different. Knowing from last offseason, I took too much time off and tried to come back to it, and it took too long.
You're a legendary eater, so I imagine you have to watch your weight.
DH: Hell, yeah, I can't get back big. I weight 333 now. After the break last offseason, I was about 356.
So you can put on 20 pounds quickly.
DH: In a week. I have to watch everything I eat.