By Mac Engel Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Travis Frederick retired from football, and unlike so many ex-NFL players who eventually return, do not expect him to follow that same tired path most recently taken by Rob Gronkowski.
The quarantine-style beard that is distinctly Travis Frederick is actually gone, and now the weight is coming off, too.
“That’s the dream: To get skinny. I’ve started to make my moves. I was at 315 or 320, now I’m at 285. I’m on my way,” Frederick said on a call with me and Todd Archer of ESPN on Friday afternoon. “I do more cardio now. I don’t lift the heavy weights to maintain the level of strength. I am down a shirt size, and down two ring sizes.”
Of the many offseason moves made by the Cowboys, none is any more of a surprise than Frederick’s decision to retire. He is 29, with plenty of quality NFL years remaining.
The decision was about quality years.
Although he is optimistic about the Cowboys without him, they are a point of interest but no longer his concern. He’s on to his new life, which includes a career change, moving back to his native Wisconsin, and continuing a foundation that is needed now more than ever.
Frederick’s charity, “The Blocking Hunger Foundation,” focuses on providing food and meals for kids of lower-income families.
In light of the current pandemic crisis, which is causing more families to go without food, and food banks on low supply, donations are essential for millions of people.
“People are out of work, and more important, children are out of school and they lost access to free meals,” Frederick said. “We have seen an increase in demand. It’s difficult because people have less money to help out. We are doing our best.”
From May 18 to July 29, or 72 days, the foundation has set the modest goal of raising $22,500. Frederick estimates a kid can eat for about $2 a day.
“You can potentially feed 10,000 people with that money,” he said.
You can learn more about his foundation at blockinghunger.org, and you can donate at Moving The Chains To Block Hunger.
Although Frederick and his wife are building a home in Wisconsin, and they plan to eventually locate there full-time to be closer to their respective families, he said maintaining this foundation to help families in the Dallas-Fort Worth area will remain a priority.
“If the foundation was to spin down that means those kids who were not receiving food before were not going to get food now, and that’s not an option for us,” Frederick said.
What he aspires to do is to eventually expand this foundation to Wisconsin, and possibly enter the tech world.
What he aspires to not do is to return to play football, and now football is over so are the days of the beard.
“I had the responsibility to grow the beard because I could,” he said. “Once you step into the business world, it’s less supportive of the crazy beard.”
Warren Buffett with a Travis Frederick beard isn’t taken quite as seriously. Although Frederick’s sudden retirement creates a hole in the Cowboys’ offensive line, Frederick, ever the optimist, doesn’t see the setback. No issue with the line, or the team.
“The team is set up extremely well. The front office did a great job of getting people in place,” he said. “On paper, it looks like a really, really solid team. They have a chance to go far.
“I’m excited to see them and watch them, and hopefully provide some outside guidance. I know whoever takes over at centre will be well cared for.”
The only item Frederick has not been able to take care of is the ball.
After he called Jerry Jones in late March to inform him of his decision to retire, Frederick’s next call was to the equipment managers. Throughout his seven-year career he warmed up with the same football. The exact same ball. He would like to have it as a keepsake. The problem, of course, is the building has been closed because of Covid-19.
Frederick will likely be able to get his hands on that football one day, but don’t expect him to return to use it.
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