ASHBURN, Va. -- The first place offensive lineman Jon Toth wants to look good at is on the football field; it has been a dream to play in the NFL and he received another chance Monday when the Washington Football Team signed him. At 27, he never knows when it could be his last chance to play center in the pros.
The other place he wants to look good: In the pages of a magazine or in a clothing catalog as a plus-size or brawn model. With a football career he's trying to get going, Toth knows modeling can serve him well now and in the future.
"It's helped pay the bills while the football stuff has been kind of stagnant," Toth said.
Despite no NFL teams calling him since January -- that is, until Washington called Monday -- Toth worked out six days a week to stay in shape for modeling.
Arriving at camp late makes Toth's path more difficult, but as uncertainty remains with Washington's backup centers, he has a chance and could be on the practice squad before getting a shot at being on the 53-man roster.
Toth has been on the practice squad with the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Detroit Lions, and was in the Cleveland Browns' camp last summer before being cut. A back injury and subsequent disc herniation surgery in 2017 slowed his on-field development.
With an unstable football career, modeling offered him a chance to cash in on his physique and perhaps provide a future. Toth's fiancé, Adri Zgirdea, does styling and fashion for multiple professional athletes through her company AZSN Studio. Among her clients: former NFL defensive tackle Kawann Short and NBA players such as Scottie Barnes (Toronto Raptors), Michael Porter Jr. and Markus Howard (Denver Nuggets), Corey Kispert (Washington Wizards), Josh Richardson (Boston Celtics) and Zach Collins (San Antonio Spurs).
Zgirdea noticed, when searching for clothes for clients, that there was a dearth of brawn models. When she told Toth he should become one, his initial reaction was one of laughter.
"He didn't take it seriously," Zgirdea said. "That's the amazing part: Jon does not realize how good-looking Jon is."
But in 2019, Zgirdea put him in touch with Josh Stephens, a manager at IMG, and that's what started to change Toth's mind. The more he thought about it, the more it made sense. He's big at 310 pounds and tall at 6-foot-5.
"It's big-and-tall modeling, so you're supposed to be larger," Toth said. "I've always liked staying in shape and being strong, so it was kind of natural for me to stay in the weight room and stay in shape, and it translated to modeling as well."
Said Stephens: "He is a good-looking guy and that is part of the success of him and all the jobs we've been able to get him. This is a very separate thing from football. He's been able to get a lot of great feedback and enthusiasm."
Toth has done modeling gigs for Calvin Klein and appears in a Lands' End catalog. He gets about three to four jobs a month and even had to cancel two jobs this week so he could sign with Washington.
"Football is still his first love," Zgirdea said.
Washington's starting center, Chase Roullier, didn't know much about Toth's side gig until being informed in a news conference Monday.
"I'm not sure what to say to that," Roullier said.
Washington plays against the New England Patriots in its preseason opener on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network). It's unclear how much time Toth will play.
As one person close to Toth said, he's no Derek Zoolander and he's not appearing on runways. At least not yet.
Stephens said they'll continue seeking endorsement deals that dovetail with Toth's main pursuit of football. But, in the future, he said they hope to see Toth walking a fashion runway.
"We definitely want opportunities like that for him," Stephens said. "He's a big dude. The runways are changing with models of different sizes and heights. It's something that will happen in the future."
Zgirdea knows why her fiancé has clicked in the modeling business.
"Athletes and models have a similar mentality in the way they work," she said. "They look for direction from people and they do well with direction. I knew Jon was a quick student. I thought it would be a perfect fit for him."