Courtsey of Janie Tanner
Brady Taner, Cherokee, deadlifts during competition

The ‘Other Brady’: Strongest Special Olympian Rivals NFLers

Rodney Harwood

With the NFL Draft less than two months away, coaches and front offices around the league are poring over the results of speed, strength and agility tests to find some valuable insight into their picks. It’s not an exact science, but numbers do tell the tale.

In Indian Country, there is a guy who won’t be on anybody’s draft board come May 8, but his powerlifting maximum lifts do compare with the stuff NFL recruiters are analyzing.

Cherokee tribal member Brady Tanner is one of the newest members of the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, and the only special needs athlete ever inducted. In 2011, the 32-year-old from Lawrence won three gold medals and silver at the World Special Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Based on his combined weight totals, Olympic officials called Tanner the strongest Special Olympian in the world.

Tanner’s stats are jaw-dropping. The 5-foot-7, 265-pound Special Olympian with Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome can bench press 450 pounds. His personal best in the deadlift is 575 pounds, and he can squat 625 pounds.

In old times, the greatest assessment of a warrior’s achievements came from the other warriors. The same is true today. American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame member Jim Warne, NFL Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel and Jamie Yanchar, an assistant strength and conditioning coach with the world-champion Seattle Seahawks, all weighed in on how Tanner’s numbers translate in today’s National Football League.

“For his age and the weights he’s lifting, those are impressive numbers,” Yanchar told ICTMN. “If you took a poll from the majority of people in the world, how many people can do that?”


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