By Julian Linden
NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - By any standard, Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton is a giant hulk of a man.
He also has a delectable nickname - "Pot Roast" - but the moniker has nothing to do with his 6-foot-3, 335-pounds (152 kilograms) frame. Had he been a seafood lover, he might just as easily been called a 'shrimp.'
At Tuesday's media day, an annual event that kicks off of Super Bowl week, Knighton took a break from the usual dialogue about tackles and touchdowns to explain how he came about his unusual nickname.
With a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) belt draped over his shoulder, he began his narrative: "Six hour flight. Guys are tired. Plane is dark and the lady is walking down the isle saying, 'Pot roast, pot roast,' and I'm like 'right here, right here.'
"My teammate behind me was like, 'You're saying that like that's your name. I'm going to call you Pot Roast.' And then it stuck with me.
"It was either that or 'shrimp alfredo,' so I'm glad I got that."
Knighton's tale elicited a hearty laugh from the large media throng that surrounded him at New Jersey's Prudential Center.
Defensive tackles rarely draw a big crowd as most cameras are focused on the quarterbacks and head coaches but Knighton has become one of the game's star attractions, almost as much for his witty replies as his exploits on the gridiron.
He joked that he would beat Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in a foot race then revealed his secret strategy to win the Super Bowl and land himself a big sponsorship deal.
"Maybe I'll get a Chunky Soup commercial or something like that," he said. "If I get a sack this game, I've got a little special sack dance and hopefully that gives some people some ideas."
When it comes to talking about his game, Knighton's slapstick routine quickly disappears.
Drafted out of college by the Jacksonville Jaguars, his first four years in the NFL were unspectacular but he has excelled since joining the Broncos this season.
He has developed a reputation as one the fiercest defensive lineman in the league and now looms as one of the key figures for Sunday's Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks.
"I just do my job. I don't make it bigger than what it is," he said. "My job is to play defensive tackle and that's what I'll do. I'll control my gap and a few other gaps and try to make a play."
(This version of the story removes extraneous phrase in the first paragraph)
(Editing by Frank Pingue)