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New Diet Has Fullback Carrying Weight

Carbohydrates help Charger elevate game

By Michael Gehlken
|  Monday, Nov 15, 2010  |  Updated 2:45 PM PDT
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Images: Philip Rivers

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Mike Tolbert (No. 35) is congratulated by Jacob Hester (No. 22) after he scored a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Oct. 10 in Oakland.

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Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread. Spread jelly on another. Press the two slices together with the peanut butter and jelly touching.

Boil water inside a large pot. Add salt. Insert noodles into pot. Stir. Remove and drain noodles once tender.

The recipes behind Chargers fullback Jacob Hester's diet read like the first pages of the most elementary of cookbooks. The simple approach has led to a weight gain that has him playing the best football of his career.

The third-year veteran adjusted his eating habits during the off-season in order to gain mass while not losing his speed as he prepared for his new role as the team's full-time fullback.

“Just constantly eating carbs -- a ton of carbs,” Hester said. “A bunch of pasta. I told my wife I needed some help. I said any time I'm sitting down and you see me, try to force-feed me. So she did a good job of it. As I was sitting down, I'd always have a peanut butter and jelly or something waiting for me.” 

Hester entered the league weighing slightly more than 220 pounds. He has since ballooned to about 240.

Now physical enough to block and run in short-yardage situations and still versatile enough to run routes out of the backfield, Hester is as dynamic as he's ever been. Running backs coach Ollie Wilson said Hester improved more at his position during the off-season than other any player on the team.

“He's made himself into an NFL fullback,” Wilson said. “Jake's been really good. He has. If he keeps doing this, there's a chance somebody going to say, 'Hey, he might be one of the better guys in the league.' ”

Chargers running back Mike Tolbert is already saying it. In 2008, when he and Hester were roommates, the pair played the same position. Tolbert has since transitioned into a tailback while Hester has evolved into a fullback, causing the two friends to depend upon each other more than ever.

Quickly, Hester has earned Tolbert's trust on the field. He called Hester “one of the best, if not the best, in the league right now” because of how he finishes his blocks.

“When he goes inside, I go inside,” Tolbert said. “I just follow him. That's my main thing. Whenever he's in the game with me, my whole thing is follow Jacob. He's always going to lead me to the right place.”

 It started in the kitchen.

 It continues there. 

“I'm still eating all the time, man,” Hester said with a smile.

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