No joke: Lutui goes vegan for health of it

Turns out Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wasn't joking Friday.

Deuce Lutui, the team's new guard with longstanding weight issues, has indeed embraced a vegan diet as part of a renewed effort to improve his health and performance.

"The commitment that he made to himself and his family revolved around not only being the best player," agent Ken Harris said Monday, "but being with them for many years to come and not having to worry as much about weight-related issues that can cause down-the-line health concerns."

This should be welcome news to those who care about Lutui personally and for Seattle fans hoping Lutui, after six seasons and 72 regular-season starts for Arizona, can upgrade their offensive line.

The Seahawks are listing the 6-foot-4 Lutui at 338 pounds. That is the weight on file for Lutui, as listed on NFL.com. That figure is more consistent with Lutui's measured weight at the 2006 scouting combine (334) than a reflection of his typical weight in the NFL.

Lutui reported to camp at 396 pounds in 2010 and failed a physical examination after agreeing to terms with Cincinnati last offseason. Lutui then returned to the Cardinals, where he served as a backup following four-plus years as a starter.

"Some things happened last year and in the last year and a half," Harris said. "He wanted to commit to himself and to his family that he would do everything to take care of himself and take care of them and be the best player he could be. As part of that, he met a nutritionist who suggested a vegan diet to him."

Vegans avoid eating animal products.

"He started to see real changes he had not seen previously," Harris said. "Before he knew it, he was slim and trim like a ballerina."

Carroll joked that Lutui had reported at 208 pounds. He was serious when he said Lutui's conditioning was improved, and that he valued the spirit Lutui -- sometimes ferocious on the field, but usually affable in the locker room -- brings to the team.

Seattle sought veteran depth at guard after releasing Robert Gallery. Lutui played for Carroll at USC and has obvious starting ability if his conditioning is right.

"When you stand next to him, his bone structure is very, very broad and very thick," Harris said. "For him to be 300-anything is much different than me being 300-anything.

"When I talked to NFL teams in the past about him, they would say, 'We know his weight, because of his bone structure, we would allow it to be a little heavier than someone that didn’t have the same kind of bone structure.' But they still wanted the weight to be in check."