Qualcomm Stadium isn’t the only place San Diego Charger Shaun Phillips is flexing his muscles. The 250-pound outside linebacker has been known to tackle a cheese board with the furor of a turophile. His degree in hotel and restaurant management from Purdue may have launched this torrid aged-milk obsession, but the NFL star’s affinity for the gooey stuff is the real deal. He even keeps a log of the cheese he’s sampled and where they were made, making note of traits he digs, like minerality and texture. (Gorgonzola is his fave.)
Phillips flashes some of that love in a series of videos with L.A. cheese chick, Barrie Lynn. The Web program Cheese Rules shows him exploring cheese and wine pairings, but we couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow when we watched him bite into a hearty grilled cheese and peanut brittle sandwich. "I thought, No way was this going to be good, but it was amazing… except I felt fat eating it," he says.
Phillips isn’t interested in his own herd of milk cows just yet, but word’s out that he’s talking with award-winning Wisconsin cheesemaker Joe Widmer to develop his own cheese line. "The goal is to open a lounge where people can have lunch, or drinks before dinner; where appetizers are small and light; and customers can spend some time appreciating the cheese and wine," he says. Until then, don’t be surprised if you spot the 6’3" pro huddled at Bice’s cheese bar sharing a plate of Italian toma or robiola with friends.
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