DENVER (KDVR) — Every morning from 9 a.m. until noon, Colorado sports fans are greeted with the rich timbre of Orlando Franklin’s voice. The former Broncos offensive lineman now works as a sports talk radio host for 104.3 The Fan.
His work on the radio has allowed his physical appearance to slide under the radar, until now.
“Big O,” as he’s affectionately known by Broncos fans, recently posted a picture to social media, showing off his remarkable weight loss.
“I want people to look at me and say, ‘Man, if Orlando can do it, I can do it,'” says Franklin.
But it’s how he’s gotten in shape, that’s catching many by surprise.
Franklin has taken to hiking, even inviting complete strangers along for the journey.
“I found a way to do things where I can see Colorado, burn a ton of calories, but meet new, good people as well.”
Until last year, Franklin had never been hiking in Colorado, despite playing for the Broncos for 4 years.
He says he was at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science when he stumbled upon a book in the gift shop.
“I stopped in the gift shop, and literally saw a book that said 50 hikes in Colorado,” he says. “And it was all over the state, and I was like, ‘Man, I want to do this.'”
Franklin turned to social media to ask his fans for advice.
“And my first hike, four people showed up, and I was like, ‘Man, this is awesome.’ And I just started doing it every Saturday.”
Franklin has been hosting hikes ever since, and even climbed his first “14er” this summer.
He has also stopped drinking alcohol, and in the past year has managed to lose nearly 100 pounds.
“I told myself, because we were getting ready to have our second child, this is something that I have to do,” he says. “I have to make sure that I have more energy, we’re playing man-to-man defense now, one parent has one kid, the other parent has the other, so you’re fully engaged.”
One of the first strangers to join Franklin was Dave Roberts, a Denver sports fan who heard about Franklin’s hikes on the radio.
“When we first started, he would stop, not joking, every quarter mile. Because he was maybe in football shape, but not hiking shape,” says Roberts. “I’m just super proud of him. He went from not even walking a quarter mile in the mountains, to hiking a 14er.”
Orlando is hoping to hike five 14’ers in 2021, and hopes his story will inspire others to get outside.
“You can’t take care of other people in this world unless you take care of yourself,” he says.
If you’d like to hike with Orlando, shoot him a message on Instagram.