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Original Issue

MR. VEGGIE

THERE ARE no vegetarians in the NFL, but there is Chidi Ahanotu, the Dolphins defensive end who hasn't tasted red meat or chicken in seven years--a very lean cuisine for a guy who goes 6'2", 285. Ahanotu's staples are vegetables, seafood and soy products, and he alternates between meals rich in carbohydrates and meals rich in proteins. Ahanotu, 34, was a vegan in high school in Berkeley, Calif.--eschewing all animal products, including dairy--before he began eating meat to beef up for football at Cal. Then, in his fifth NFL season, he became a self-described "seafood vegetarian" for "digestive and ethical reasons." He hasn't missed a game in six seasons. "I feel great," says Ahanotu, whose food faves are "crab, sweet potatoes and carrot juice." Still, it isn't easy eating greens in a meat-and-potatoes league. "When you say you're a vegetarian, people think you should look like a marathon runner," Ahanotu says. "Guys tease me and say, 'Man, I saw you last night at a steak house.' Like I'm a closet steak-eater." --A.C.

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FERNANDO MEDINA/WIREIMAGE (AHANOTU)

CHIDI AHANOTU,DOLPHINS DEFENSIVE END

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CORBIS (STEAK)