WHERE ARE THEY NOW? - DEREK MORRIS , OL
Derek Morris isn’t here to make friends – that’s just something that happens when you’re 6’6”, 350 pounds with a personality to match. His strength is world class and his commitment to the next level is obvious to everyone around him at HQ Performance. And if that’s not clear by what he does in the weight room, just ask him…he’ll tell you.
“I’m where I need to be to get back to the league,” says Morris, drained from an afternoon of flipping a 600-lb tire repeatedly. “Geoff is great. He’s probably the best trainer I’ve ever had. He knows me, he knows my body, and he knows how to get me mentally through a workout.”
The Geoff he speaks of is owner and CEO of HQ Performance, Geoff Christman. His client list and bio are impressive, but it’s his tailored techniques that are earning acclaim from elite-level athletes. . Yet, even for somebody of Christman’s experience, he says Morris is different. “He’s easily the most agile athlete I’ve trained. The fact he’s an offensive lineman and over 300 pounds is the mind-boggling part.”
Even more amazing is how Morris got to this point. From his standout days at N.C. State to four years in the NFL, Morris had it all going for him. But the violent nature of the business took its toll in the form of a blood clot in his lungs and torn ligaments in his shoulder.
Yet, his commitment to the sport never wavered. “I’m 100 percent healthy now. I’m working every day towards my goal,” Morris confidently states. “These guys are making the difference. It’s not like strength programs I’ve had in the past where everybody does the same thing no matter if they’re my size or 150 pounds. Geoff has a specific, individual plan for me that has me where I am.”
That plan includes workouts for NLF clubs – which he says he’s ready for at any time. But it also includes being in even better shape than when he left the game. “In what, like maybe three months, they’ve got me almost where I was. I’m ready now, but two more months…no telling.”
And while he nods in strict confidence when asked about the league, his jovial persona seems to always find its way out. “After football, I could be a model. I look better than Jordan, right? I know I look better than Lebron…”
Still amused from his previous statement, Morris has the HQ Performance staff laughing. Perhaps they’ll let him skip out on his final set of ladders. Probably not – Geoff’s not here to make friends either.
(article by Corey Patton)