Weight and see with Traylor

He's not ready to start doing Slim-Fast commercials, but you can definitely see the difference in Keith Traylor this year.

He's still large, but Traylor is more in charge of his size going into the 2002 season.

Listed at a generous 340 pounds in the Bears media guide, Traylor said he's lost close to 30 pounds this past offseason, and is close to reaching his target weight of 320 pounds.

Thanks to Bears nutritionist Julie Burns -- who Traylor jokingly says he used to dodge -- and his own will power, Traylor got his diet under control and says he feels like a new man.

"I'm getting old," said Traylor, an 11-year NFL veteran. "(Heck), I want to live. I don't want to die when I get out of football. I wanted to get it off and continue to get it off, and once it's off be able to live a long life."

Traylor, who is entering his second season with the Bears, is most remembered for last season's comical highlight, when he took an interception back 67 yards against Jacksonville, chugging down the sideline with teammates, coaches and fans laughing the entire way.

Traylor isn't ready to challenge Jenny Craig, but he's not the same bloated defensive tackle who was labeled as just a run stopper. Traylor and Ted Washington figured into only about 30 or so snaps a game last season, but Traylor is ready for extended action this season.

"I want more this year, being honest," Traylor said. "I'm going to work toward getting a whole lot more. Hopefully I can get 40, 42 (plays a game) and I'll be content with that."

Traylor, who started at right defensive tackle in 15 of 16 games played last season, finished with 45 tackles. He teamed with Washington up front to help lock up offensive linemen and let the Bears linebackers do their thing. It helped Chicago allow opponents an average of only 82.1 rushing yards per game, the second lowest total in the NFL. He tied for the team lead with eight tackles for negative yardage and forced two fumbles.

"I'm just trying to get better, get to that next level," Traylor said. "I think we can be better. I honestly think that me and (Washington) together can take our game to another level, just by getting into shape and keep working at it and block all the (stuff) out of your head."

It's almost hard to believe that when Traylor came into the NFL 11 years ago he was almost 100 pounds lighter and a linebacker. He's grown into a defensive tackle, but now he's hoping to keep some of that extra load off, and help the Bears defense achieve even greater things this season.

"Keith obviously is big and strong," Jauron said. "He's a very gifted athlete, but his weight got higher than he wanted it in the offseason.

"Keith did all the work, and it's really paid off for him."

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