Defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who followed up a sensational rookie season with a disappointing season last year, has apparently lost a good 30 pounds in preparation for the 2003 season.
Rogers isn't saying how much weight he lost but says he is below 350.
"I lost a few pounds," he said, obviously understating the case.
Rogers tallied 81 tackles in 16 games in 2001, but his production dropped to just 48 tackles in 14 games in 2002. In addition, questions were raised regarding the former Texas Longhorn standout.
In Rogers' defense, he had a lot of things working against him in his second NFL season. He had surgery to remove bone chips from his ankle shortly before the start of training camp and he suffered a broken and dislocated left thumb in the second game of the season.
Those were things obviously out of his control but the Lions were concerned that he let his weight get out of control.
Lions president Matt Millen was concerned enough over Rogers' situation that he was willing to trade him if he could have gotten the right offer (a first-round or high second-round pick) before the NFL draft in April.
Millen didn't get the right offer, so he had a heart-to-heart talk with Rogers and the results have been impressive.
"A lot of hard work," Rogers said. "I haven't had a vacation yet, but hopefully it will pay off throughout the season. If I can start out lower, it gives me a little leeway and hopefully I can sustain and play at a high level longer."
If Rogers can regain his rookie-season form, he could be on his way to a Pro Bowl-type season. And nothing would make the Lions happier.