Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley has had a tumultuous preseason, but it looks like it’s ending on a high note.
In May the Lions declined to pick up Fairley’s $US5.5-million option for the 2015-16 season — a sign that they were unconvinced that the former No. 13-overall pick was the long-term answer at defensive tackle.
After the team asked him to lose weight over the summer, he reportedly got down to 295 pounds, which was actually lighter than the Lions wanted.
He showed up to training camp at 308 pounds, but ballooned to as much as 320 pounds during the preseason, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Fairly was demoted halfway through training camp after struggling in both practices and games. He admitted his “eating habits” in the first two weeks of training camp were the biggest reason why.
After struggling with weight issues for much of his career, Fairley decided to hire a personal chef in the aftermath of his demotion, according to Birkett.
Now — two weeks after getting benched — he’s down to 305 pounds and is on top of the team’s latest depth chart.
Fairly told the Free Press that his chef delivers five days worth of prepared meals to his house every week.
From the Free Press:
“Fairley said he takes breakfast and lunch with him to the practice facility every day, and he eats dinner at home from the preprepared meals he stores in his refrigerator. So far, his dinners have included meatloaf, baked potatoes and stir fry.
“‘That’s something that we’ve been having planned from even OTAs last year, it’s just I never really got along with it,’ Fairley said. ‘I just felt like I could do it on my own. But I went to (my agent after my demotion) and was like, “Let’s give it a shot, give it a try.”‘”
Fairley says eating healthier has made him feel much better overall.
“I feel a whole lot better just by not putting that bad stuff in my body,” he told the paper. “You feel the energy, you feel it out there at practice.”
Here’s what he looked like last year:
Fairley is an incredible talent who has shown flashes of brilliance in his three years with the Lions. If his weight issues are finally behind him, it’d be a huge boost for both the team and the player.
Since Detroit declined his 2015-16 option, he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season. If he shines this year, he stands to make more than the $US5.5 million he wold have made had the Lions picked up his option.
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