Entrepreneurs

This ex-NFL player had 4 'Shark Tank' investors fighting over his new kind of foam roller — and walked away with $250,000

A former pro football player and his business partner pitch a better version of a workout device, on "Shark Tank."
Eric McCandless | ABC | Getty Images
A former pro football player and his business partner pitch a better version of a workout device, on "Shark Tank."

When the investors on ABC's "Shark Tank" see a pitch for a product that they think will make money, they are often willing to fight for it.

On Sunday, after former NFL tight end Nate Lawrie and his business partner Tom Hopkins pitched their company Brazyn Life, which sells a foam roller that collapses to fit in a gym bag, the fight was on.

And this time, it was a battle of the sexes.

Four sharks were interested: Kevin O'Leary and Daymond John teamed up for an offer, challenging another from guest judge and self-made billionaire Sara Blakely and Lori Greiner.

But, O'Leary was offering more than money. He was willing to go the extra mile to market the product.

"One video of me in my underwear [foam] rolling is going to blow this thing right out of the water," O'Leary tells Lawrie and Hopkins on the show.

The women, however, weren't impressed with that plan.

"It could also put you out of business," Blakely says to the entrepreneurs. Adds investor Greiner, "Horrifying thought, him in his underwear on a roller."

Both sets of investors held the same terms: each pair offered to invest a total of $225,000 for a combined 20 percent stake in the business.

The sharks were interested in the uniqueness of the product and excited that the foam roller could collapses flat to be easily packed in a small bag or carry on, but can still sustain weight when expanded.

"That is pretty cool the way it just pops open," Greiner says of the product. "That is pretty clever."

Lawrie had the idea for a collapsible roller after suffering a back injury while playing professional football with the New Orleans Saints. During his career, Lawrie also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cincinnati Bengals.

"I remember sleeping on our living room floor, because it was the only surface hard enough, then getting up, scarfing painkillers and going into practice," he writes on the company's website. "I'd go into the training room, lie to the coaches and trainers that my back was feeling better, and go out and grit through practices and games."

Then he discovered the benefits of using a foam roller to stretch and strengthen his muscles. He attributes using a foam roller to adding five years to his football career. But it wasn't perfect. Traditional round rollers were inconvenient to carry around or fly with on trips.

"I wanted to find something I could easily travel with," Lawrie explains on "Shark Tank." "So I went to a local hardware store, built a really rudimentary prototype in the garage, and when it didn't collapse under my massive 260 pounds of tight-end weight, I knew I had the opportunity to make something that was really cool."

In 2015, he launched Brazyn, and says on the show the business is projecting $2.4 million in sales over the next 12 months. It sells on their website for $68.

After getting both pairs of sharks to increase their offers by $25,000, Lawrie and Hopkins chose to do the deal with Blakely and Greiner. Greiner touted her know-how with marketing consumer products, and Blakely, the founder of shapewear brand Spanx, is also a part owner of the Atlanta Hawks NBA team, offering retail and athletic connections.

They closed the deal for $250,000 for a 20 percent stake.

While investor Mark Cuban didn't make an offer, he had to chime in: "Kevin, it is fortunate you're going to be in your underwear because you just got spanked."

Don't miss: Why Barbara Corcoran invested $50,000 in a new kind of fidget spinner on 'Shark Tank'

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Disclaimer: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."