Over the past 36 hours, the internet has been flooded with tributes to Jared Lorenzen as we all struggle to come to terms with his sudden passing. We’ve heard stories about his incredible ability on the field and his character off it, but Tommy Tomlinson may have best captured what Jared’s legacy will be.
Tomlinson wrote a feature on Jared for ESPN the Magazine back in 2014, and yesterday, opened up about how writing Jared’s story inspired him to focus on his own.
I wanted to write about Jared because I was afraid to write my own story. Jared was known as the biggest quarterback anyone had ever seen; he often played at more than 300 pounds, and by the time I met him, he was somewhere about 400. But he wasn’t as big as me. That year, I was closing in on a high of 460, and I had this weird two-sided life: I loved my work and loved my wife and loved my friends, but I often hated myself because I couldn’t control my weight and I knew one day it would kill me.
For years, I had been hauling around the idea that I should write about all that — that I should share the most important story of my life. But I was afraid to reveal the darkest parts of myself. And I was terrified of the damage it might do to the people I loved. So I stuffed all that back inside and kept writing about other people.
Telling Jared’s story was a substitute for telling mine.
Jared’s death is tragic, but hopefully it can inspire others before it’s too late.