As a Raven, Ben Cavil was as big as a house. Now, he's selling them.
"I enjoy what I'm doing - pointing first-time buyers in the right direction," said Cavil, a new home counselor in Houston.
At 320 pounds, the former offensive guard still takes up a healthy chunk of real estate. The man whom Ravens teammates called "Honey Buns" for his sweet tooth is 35 now and has been battling diabetes for four years.
"That hit me hard," said Cavil, who believes he has the disease under control. "It was my wake-up call. I think that when a lot of guys quit playing football, they need to watch their weight and what they eat."
A behemoth at the University of Oklahoma, Cavil started 14 games for the Ravens in 1997 and 1998, the whole of his NFL career. Playing alongside All-Pro tackle Jonathan Ogden especially was a kick, he said.
"Every time J.O. got mad, he'd rip off his helmet and that big ol' Afro would spring out."
Cavil bore a startling physical resemblance to Ravens lineman Wally Williams, with whom he shared an affinity for pastries - specifically Tastykakes. When word got out, the baking company shipped each man a complimentary case of goodies.
"I came to practice early and found all these Honey Buns in front of my locker," Cavil said. "I grabbed them, ran outside and put them in my car.
"Wally wasn't as lucky. The guys opened his box in the locker room and started eating. By the time he got there, they were gone."
In 1999, the Cleveland Browns plucked Cavil in the expansion draft. His selection rankled the 4,000 Browns fans who attended the draft. Many booed the announcement. Cavil was a link to the organization that skipped town four years earlier.
It was nothing personal, Cavil learned.
"When I got to Cleveland, the people were real nice. I wasn't ridiculed or anything," he said. "The fans told me, 'You're a Brown now.' "
He was cut in training camp.
These days, Cavil works at a desk, goes home to his wife and three daughters and battles to maintain his diet.
" 'Honey Buns' is gone," he said with a sigh. "But I might cheat once or twice."
• With the Ravens: 1997 and 1998.
• Other teams: Signed originally as free agent with the San Diego Chargers in 1995, then spent a year on the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad.
• Current job: New home counselor for Beazer Homes in Houston.
• Fun fact: Owns a vintage collection of more than 700 comic books, including Superman, Batman and Spider-Man.
• College: University of Oklahoma, where he majored in communications.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun