Lucky Whitehead stared at the 11-ton semi-truck in front of him and paused.

“It looks a lot bigger than I envisioned in my head,” the Osbourn High School graduate thought to himself.

Was this really wise? He was under no obligation to carry his plan out. After all, this started as a friendly dare when Whitehead posted shots of himself on his Instagram account pulling his Ford Raptor. Someone noticed and raised the ante by showing footage of himself pulling a bigger boxed truck.

The budding rivalry could have ended there, but Whitehead refused to back down.

Without taking his boast too seriously, Whitehead responded by telling the person if this was indeed a competition, should he go ahead and pull an 18-wheeler? The person tweeted back to say that if Whitehead pulled the 18-wheeler he was going to pull a train.

Enough was enough. Whitehead decided to take action.

First Whitehead asked his trainer Raymond Washington how difficult it was to pull a semi. Washington laughed and told him: “It’s going to be hard, but not impossible.”

Whitehead also consulted with three of his close friends for advice. Only one thought he could do it.

Good enough, Whitehead thought.

“I liked being challenged,” Whitehead said. “I don’t want to let someone out there think they are better.”

That’s how he ended up last Thursday outside the Manassas-based United Sportsplex off Balls Ford Road staring at a semi a friend of a friend found for him to use.

Whitehead first pushed the truck from behind to ensure he could move it. Then he strapped a harness around his waist, crouched down and felt like he was marching in place. 

“It was a lot easier pushing than pulling,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead quickly found his footing and for almost 60 seconds dragged the semi about 20 to 25 yards. The exercise left him accomplished and exhausted at the same time.

“Once I was finished, my legs felt like noodles,” Whitehead said.

The video of Whitehead’s feat went viral. One fellow CFL player, James Wilder Jr. commented that Whitehead now has to pull a plane.

For the moment, though, Whitehead is content to stick with the semi while he stays in shape waiting for the start of his second CFL season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Whitehead has been back in Manassas since the coronavirus shut everything down, working harder than ever.

“I’m keeping my head on right, which it is,” Whitehead said. “I’m keeping my head clear and remaining focused. That’s where I need to be at.”

Whitehead began his first CFL season with a bang, when he caught seven passes for 155 yards and his only two touchdown receptions of the season in Winnipeg’s home opener. He totaled 52 receptions for 521 yards and made 15 starts. But he was out of the lineup for the Blue Bombers’ three playoff games capped off by a Grey Cup title.

Coming into this season, Whitehead wants to be more consistent.

“There was a lot of wear and tear,” Whitehead said. “My body gets tired. There was a lot of running and hitting that I was not used to and I was coming off an injury. And the season lasts longer. I’m training to go for the whole year.”

David Fawcett is the sports editor for InsideNoVa.com. Reach him at dfawcett@insidenova.com

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