From NFL Hopeful to Strongman Contender: The Inspiring Journey of Thomas Evans

Thomas Evans had a dream – to play in the NFL. But sometimes, life throws unexpected challenges, redirecting us down paths we never imagined. For Evans, that path led him from snapping footballs to Aaron Rodgers to heaving logs as a strongman competitor. 

Evans found himself at a crossroads when he didn't make the final cut for the Green Bay Packers' roster in 2017. Despite his immense strength and dedication, the NFL dream slipped through his fingers. But rather than letting disappointment define him, Evans saw this as an opportunity for redemption. 

Turning frustration into fuel, Evans transitioned from the gridiron to the weight room, channeling his passion for competition into a new endeavor: professional strongman. As a strength and conditioning coach at the University of Delaware, Evans found solace and purpose in lifting heavy weights and competing in strongman events. 

His journey wasn't without its challenges. Starting as a volunteer coach while pursuing his NFL aspirations, Evans faced setbacks and uncertainties. But with determination and resilience, he embraced the strongman community, finding camaraderie and support among fellow athletes. 

Despite being relatively new to the sport, Evans made rapid progress, earning accolades such as winning the Arnold Amateur Strongman and placing fifth in the Arnold Strongman Classic. His dedication and hard work paid off when he qualified for the 2023 World's Strongest Man competition, marking a significant milestone in his journey of transformation. 

Transitioning from the structured environment of football to the individual pursuit of strongman required adaptability and a shift in mindset. But Evans embraced the challenge, pouring hours into training, refining his technique, and pushing his limits to become the best version of himself. 

As he continues his training, Evans reflects on the journey that brought him here – from the disappointment of missed NFL opportunities to the exhilaration of pursuing a new passion. His goals extend beyond winning titles; he aspires to leave a legacy in the world of strongman, becoming a household name synonymous with strength and perseverance. 

In a sport where success is measured by sheer determination and unwavering resolve, Thomas Evans embodies the spirit of resilience and the power of chasing dreams against all odds. He carries with him the hopes and dreams of a journey that defies convention and inspires us all to reach for greatness, no matter the obstacles we face. 

Dive deeper into Thomas Evans' story with our exclusive Q&A session. 

Can you walk us through the pivotal moment when you decided to dive headfirst into the world of Strongman? 
 
When I was no longer playing professional Football, I was immediately looking for a different way to compete and push my body to the physical limits. In addition, my football exit was happening the same time as the movie Born Strong was released and I always loved lifting but hated run training, so strongman made sense to me. 
 
 
What was the spark that ignited your passion for this unique sport, and how did it drive you to where you are today? 
 
When I won the Arnold Amateur in 2022, I knew that Strongman was no longer a hobby, but now it became a true passion. As I believed I belonged with the top athletes in the sport. It was time to prove to others that I did too. 


What aspect of Strongman keeps you hooked? 
 
The constant changing and evolving of events, and the competitions. There are a lot of events that pay tribute to historical events in a great way, but the competitions and prep are constantly changing. This keeps the sport exciting. 
 
 
How has your athletic past paved the way for your success in Strongman? 
 
There is a lot of carry over between Football and repeat power events such as the clean and press for reps events. The ability to be every explosive for repetitive movements is very similar to how an offensive lineman should play football. 

 
Give us a glimpse into the sports and training that have molded you into the elite athlete you are today. 
 
I like to think I was one of the strongest college football players at my time. Additionally, I played in a very aggressive manner where I was not afraid to injure my opponent and remove him from the contest. Now I have translated that passion and angry style of play into attacking an implement or event rather than an individual. 
 
 
If you had to choose a single Strongman movement as your favorite, what would it be and why? 
 
Log Ladder. It has it all: static power, endurance, speed in transition, total power strength and power. 

 
From first encounter to present-day use, how has the AIRWAAV Mouthpiece helped your performance?
 
 
I have never worn a mouthpiece where I was able to breath as well as I can with the AIRWAAV mouthpiece, this adjustment has helped me drastically improve my endurance events as well as any movement events. 
 

In your experience as a strength and conditioning expert, how important is peer reviewed published research with products you use such as the AIRWAAV Mouthpiece? 

With so many cheap tricks and gimmicks within the strength and conditioning world at any level, Strength Coaches can appreciate and are more likely to commit to a long-term change if the product or training style is backed by proper research. 

 

As someone who juggles a full-time career alongside being a professional athlete, how do you maintain a balance between the demands of your job and the rigorous training and competitions? 

Time management is key for me regardless if it is work or training. I would not be able to accomplish what I need to get done on a daily basis if I don't plan everything out, including meals and sleep schedule. Needless to say a lot of sacrifices are made, especially involving free time in order to do what I do. 

 

Who or what fuels your fire to train and compete at an elite level? 

I started Strongman in hopes to be able to redeem my athlete career, as I was not satisfied with how my football career had ended. I believe I belong at the top of the world in some athletic pursuit, it is just not the one I had originally thought of. 


Unlocking the Power of 1% Improvement: Insights from Baseball's Finest
At this year's American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Convention, AIRWAAV had a strong presence and hosted a panel on stage at the expo theater. Among the speakers were Dan Perlmutter, Director of Sports Performance at Duke University, Anthony Silva, starting shortstop for TCU, and Brendan Donovan, starting utility player for the St. Louis Cardinals. These three shared insights into what it means to pursue constant improvement in the game, highlighting the significance of even the smallest margins of progress.
Read more
AIRWAAV Podcast 003: Marginal Gains, Major Impact with Bobby Thompson
In this episode, Bobby Thompson discusses the intricate balancing act between a strongman's career and family life, shedding light on the sacrifices and tough decisions made along the way. Explore Bobby's insights on achieving elite performance through marginal gains, including the impact of tools like the AIRWAAV mouthpiece. Experience firsthand validation of AIRWAAV's effectiveness as Bobby shares a transformative experience, highlighting its undeniable benefits for elite athletes.
Read more
Maximizing Performance: Anthony Silva's Secret Weapon Revealed
In high level college sports, every edge matters. From training regimens to recovery techniques, athletes are constantly looking for ways to optimize their performance and gain an advantage over the competition. For Division I baseball player Anthony Silva, that edge comes in the form of AIRWAAV, a mouthpiece that has transformed his game both on and off the field.
Read more