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Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton is eating better – and playing faster

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Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton has switched up his diet since he signed with the Patriots and started working with the team’s nutrition experts.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots have to be hoping that Terrance Knighton turns out to be the guy that made Tom Brady’s life miserable in the 2013 AFC Championship game, and not the ghost of Pot Roast that played for Washington in 2015. Last year, Knighton bet on himself with a one-year, "put up or shut up" deal, and the dice came up snake eyes.

OK, maybe "snake eyes" is a bit dramatic, but Pot Roast averaged 25 snaps a game and Washington’s run defense gave up an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Not great!

Give the man credit, though – he’s working hard to make sure he’s ready to roll for the 2016 season, starting with conditioning and nutrition.  CSNNE’s Phil Perry caught up with TK over the weekend and got some details on what Pot Roast is up to.

"I take pride in it (conditioning)," Knighton said. "I'm in better shape than I've been in. I'm understanding the defense a lot better now so maybe I'll play faster than I did earlier in OTAs. Of course, I hear the criticism. And obviously, I feel like a guy with my skill set keeps playing on different teams. I obviously want to make a name for myself somewhere and make a home for myself, and I just want to eliminate that me being a one-type of guy and more of an all-around player."

And he’s also gotten a chef that’s helping to make sure that he fuels his body right:

"All my meals are cut to a T based on my body type, my blood type," he said. "I'm getting extra treatment. I'm getting extra workouts in. I have an in-home chef, something that they've set up for me. Everything's set up on point."

And it's not just his meals. It's his snacks, too. There was a time when Knighton would down a Snickers or a bag of Doritos in a meeting just to help him stay alert. He said that the Patriots, whose nutrition program is led by team nutritionist Ted Harper, have helped him find healthier alternatives. "It's become maybe sunflower seeds, or maybe pecans or walnuts or grapes," he said. "Something where you know I can eat a lot of it and get something out of it at the same time. It's tough. It's tough. But it's only going to help me out here because I would feel it all. I would be mad about those Doritos if I had them today."

(Insert joke about Tom Brady’s avocado ice cream here.)

Getting better on the field is priority number one, obviously, but Knighton’s got another big reason (no pun intended) to keep himself in tip-top physical shape – his contract depends on it.

From ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss back in April:

"Last year, I was obviously heavier than I am right now. Contractually, I'll have weights that I need to hit. Whatever the coaches want me to play at, that's what I'll be," he said. "I'll continue to work throughout the offseason program and get acclimated to the new strength coaches and nutritionist and the way things are done in Foxborough. I'm looking forward to it. That's something that obviously has been an attack on me my whole career, about my weight."

The Patriots D-line is going to be a blast to watch this year, with guys like Terrance Knighton, Chris Long, and Vincent Valentine basically being total wild-cards – and Pot Roast may be able to parlay a solid year in New England into one last payday. Sounds like he’s off to a good start.

No word yet on whether Big Y will name a pizza after him or not.

(Side note: is anyone else amazed when they find out how much junk food pro athletes eat sometimes? The jokes about things like Andy Reid and "Fast Food Fridays" just write themselves, but when it came out that Dwight Howard used to eat the "equivalent of 24 Hershey bars a day" a couple years ago, it took probably half an hour to realize the story wasn’t from The Onion.)