The off-season workout program is about staying in shape, rehabbing (and pre-habbing) injuries and getting ready for the season. For the most part, the days of players “letting themselves go” for a couple of months and then working themselves back into shape in the spring and summer are ancient history. For the most part.
Baltimore Ravens tackle Bryant McKinnie is hitting the team’s voluntary off-season workout program with abandon to try to get back into Pro-Bowl shape.
“I feel like I’m on Celebrity Fit Club,” McKinnie said this week.
McKinnie was the seventh overall pick in the 2002 draft by Minnesota and made the Pro Bowl in 2009. He was released by the Vikings before the 2011 season after reports that he arrived at training camp weighing close to 400 pounds after the lockout.
He actually spent a lot of time during the lockout working on his second passion – music production, but long hours in the studio as the lockout dragged on turned into a lot of missed workouts and eating the wrong types of food.
This year, he’s starting early and working to get back to Pro Bowl form. The team brought him in mid-March for a meeting before the team picked up his roster bonus.
“They just wanted to see what I looked like physically, make sure I didn’t balloon up,” McKinney said with a laugh. “It was important for them to see me here working and for me to take advantage of the time we have in the classroom.”
So far, he’s already far closer to where he wants to be than last year. He is currently 365 pounds, and targeting dropping another 15 pounds to get down to 350 on his massive 6-foot-8-inch frame.
“That would be that perfect weight, because when you get too light people start pushing you around,” McKinnie said. “That would take away my advantage.
“I felt like from a fatigue standpoint, being able to play at a high level throughout the game, that’s something I want to be able to do. I don’t want to be three-quarters [speed]. Certain games, I felt like I was feeling really good. Some of them I was just beat down.”
If McKinnie can get to the conditioning level he needs to be at, he can still be a dominant tackle. The Ravens must be happy to see him hitting the club so seriously during voluntary workouts.
“Everything last year was a learning experience,” McKinnie said. “Now that I’ve been through it, I’m ready.”
And it’s not just the players. Apparently, some of the NFL coaching fraternity are working hard this off-season as well. Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had a lap band procedure this spring and he’s already lost 35 pounds. “It’s only been a couple months so [the doctor] is real happy with me,” Ryan said. “Hell, I’ll keep working.”
A lap band is a restrictive band placed around the stomach surgically to reduce the size of the stomach and how much the patient can eat. Rob’s brother Rex Ryan had a lap-band procedure in March 2010, and said it did help him in his battle with obesity, although he won’t be mistaken for Brad Pitt any time soon.
Rob is not the only member of the Cowboys coaching staff to drop weight – running backs coach Skip Peete (brother of former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete) has dropped some serious weight this off-season as well. When Ryan was told that Peete lost more weight than he did, Ryan responded, “He had further to go than I did.”
Ryan is focused on his health, not on vanity, and that is a serious concern given the amount of extra weight he was carrying. “My wife was telling me we’re looking for the long haul here,” Ryan said.
“I did it for health, not for beauty.” Then, in typical Ryan-family humor, he added, “I did get a sweet cut, though. I am trying to look like a Cowboy.”