By Jim Moore
RENTON – Besides noticing that Russell Wilson's wife was signing autographs after Seahawks practice, I also picked up on the fact that Red Bryant's wife is pregnant.
Bryant confirmed as much, saying that she's expecting a girl on Nov. 3. Bryant and his wife also have a 19-month-old son, Brooks, who puts a big smile on his daddy's face every time he talks about him.
Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant is feeling better physically thanks to a new diet and the treatment he received for sleep apnea. (AP)
A lot is expected of Bryant this season. Then again, that's what people were saying last year after the Seahawks' defensive end signed a five-year, $35 million contract, spurning the Patriots among other teams in free agency.
Bryant, 29, vowed to be more than just a run-stopper last season, saying he wanted to prove he could rush the quarterback, too. But he didn't get a single sack all year, and he had only 24 tackles overall. Bryant was blamed for some of the Seahawks' struggles against the run last year, but a lot of that had to do with a sore foot caused by plantar fasciitis.
When I talked to him Sunday, I didn't want to ask him about his foot. Everyone asks about his foot. I'm assuming it's OK, or better than it was last year, or he wouldn't be practicing.
I wanted to find out more about Bryant the person, particularly after hearing that he had been treated for sleep apnea. Teammate Brandon Mebane, who discovered that he has sleep apnea, suggested that Bryant should take a test. It involves going to a clinic, getting hooked up to a bunch of wires and being watched all night while you sleep.
"I was wondering, 'Am I gonna be able to go to sleep?'" Bryant said. "I felt like I was up all night, but I was actually asleep. It was something I was struggling with and didn't even know it. It's been real good. I don't wake up in the middle of the night anymore."
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes pauses in breathing, sometimes lasting longer than a minute and sometimes occurring hundreds of times a night. Bryant has tubes in his nose that are hooked to a machine that blows air to keep his airway open.
"I wake up with more energy, and I'm not as fatigued," Bryant said. "I believe it's been helping me."
He has also benefited from an improved diet thanks to the hiring of a personal chef who works for the Seahawks. It's not so much about losing weight for the 323-pound Bryant; it's more about adopting a healthy lifestyle that will also help him on the field.
Asked about the new menu, Bryant listed salmon, salad, halibut, green beans and gumbo among the items that he'll see on his dinner plate.
"Nothing fried," Bryant said.
Asked what he missed the most from his old diet, Bryant said: "Fried chicken, fried catfish ... the (expletive) that will kill ya is the best!"
Like anyone else, Bryant said he's had a few slip-ups on his new diet. He doesn't get the urge for fast food but admits that when his sister-in-law was in town recently, she baked chocolate-chip cookies.
"And I had about eight of 'em," Bryant said.
All in all, a new diet and more sleep has been a terrific combination so far.
"I feel like I'm in better shape," Bryant said. "Some of the changes are subtle, but I can go harder for longer."
He will need the extra energy in a few months when his daughter is born, giving him two kids under the age of 2. Bryant can't wait. He doesn't know what it will be like to have a little girl, but if she's anything like Brooks, it should be double the fun.
"Being a dad is the best accomplishment ever," Bryant said.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.