While Jared Lorenzen’s career as quarterback for the Kentucky Wildcats didn’t lead to a lot of wins, fans couldn’t deny the talent or the charisma of the Hefty Lefty. He was a homegrown Kentucky kid whose oversized personality matched his oversized (for his position) body.
Lorenzen holds records at Kentucky for attempts (1,514), completions (862), passing and yards (10,354). While he personally was fun to watch, the teams he played with struggled due to three coaching changes during his tenure. His best season was in 2002 with Guy Morris as the head coach. That year the Cats went 7-5 and he was voted Second-Team All-SEC.
Lorenzen’s post-collegiate career was marked with major success and some lows as well. He won a Super Bowl ring in 2007 as the New York Giants upset one of the all-time great teams in the NFL: The New England Patriots.
After his time with the Giants, Lorenzen did a small stint with the Colts and then bounced around various arena-league football teams, most notably the Northern Kentucky River Monsters in 2011 and 2014. Ultimately, a broken leg suffered in a game with the River Monsters ended his career.
Post-football was when Lorenzen once again became a fixture for Kentucky football fans. He launched the company Throwboy Tees and was a frequent contributor to KSR. He coached Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles in high school and helped mentor him in college.
The elephant in the room with Lorenzen was always his weight. While his size helped make him a cult hero, it also plagued him with health problems throughout his life. Many people, including myself, watched him and rooted for him as he pledged to change his lifestyle in a very public way. He chronicled his battle with health and fitness on social media and Big Blue Nation was in his corner the entire way.
But tragically on July 3, 2019, Jared passed away, leaving an entire fanbase and loving family to mourn his loss.
I’m someone that battles weight issues, and the death of Lorenzen hit me hard. He was a year older than me and, like me, he had children. His death made me think long and hard about my lifestyle decisions and my future on this planet.
I decided to undergo weight-loss surgery that same year. In November of 2019, I had a lap band procedure that limits the amount of food that I can ingest. I’ve lost over 70 pounds since my surgery last fall.
Food addiction is a real thing. It’s like any other addiction that folks battle. I craved food the way people crave drugs or alcohol. I know Jared went through the same thing. It’s a lonely feeling when something outside of yourself controls your life.
While Jared’s death was devastating, it was not in vain. He inspired so many other people dealing with food issues to confront those issues and do something about them. Because of him, people dealt with their addiction to food with exercise, healthier food choices, or, in my case, surgery to help.
My quality of life is better and I feel like I have a future to enjoy with my wife and kids. I’m deeply saddened that Jared isn’t going to have the same second chance as I do.
To me, Jared is bigger than football. He’s much more than just an athlete. He was a friend, a teammate, a father, a son, a businessman, and an inspiration.
I never had the opportunity to meet him in person, but everyone that I know that got to meet and befriend him always said the same thing: he would do anything for anyone. He did something for me, and he didn’t even know it.
Rest in peace, Jared.