What happened to Eddie Lacy?
After back-to-back seasons of 1,100-plus rushing yards, Lacy settled for 758 yards last season. After the season, coach Mike McCarthy put words to what was evident to most observers’ eyes.
Lacy was overweight.
How did it happen?
“Life,” Lacy said after Tuesday’s organized team activity — the team’s first full-squad work since the season-ending playoff loss at Arizona.
As is his approach with hard-charging defenders, Lacy didn’t duck any of the weight-related questions — and there were a lot of them during a six-and-a-half minute interview session at the table by his locker from which he regularly holds court with reporters. Mostly, he pointed the finger at himself.
“Injuries play a part in a bunch of different things, but certain things happen, whether it’s on or off the field,” Lacy said. “You kind of lose track. You get a wakeup call. That was my wakeup call. Better sooner than later.”
All eyes were on Lacy on Tuesday. The occasional social-media photo over the past few months hinted at Lacy’s new physique, but this practice was the first time he had been seen in a very public setting. No question, after an offseason of fitness guru Tony Horton’s P90X routine, basketball and even some boxing, Lacy looks slimmer than he did a year ago.
With about two months until the start of training camp, Lacy has ample time to get himself ready for the season.
“Eddie will be fine,” McCarthy said. “I believe he’ll hit the target that we’re all looking for when the lights come on.”
This, however, is still Lacy. The Packers didn’t draft him to be a sleek thoroughbred. They drafted him because he’s a big man with gifted footwork.
“I’m not going to get skinny like James Starks,” Lacy joked. “I’m always going to be big.”
Just how much weight has Lacy lost? That was the one question he dodged.
“Enough to be lighter,” he said with a laugh.
And enough to catch the attention of his teammates. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and guard Josh Sitton — who said he’s lost about 20 pounds to take some of the stress off his joints — were among the players who complimented the new-look Lacy.
“You feel better the more you're improving,” Lacy said. “That's all you can pretty much ask for. The guys around you, they notice it and they compliment you, which helps you, and you just keep going.”
New running backs coach Ben Sirmans said he’s made it his “personal responsibility” to make sure Lacy is at his best this season. After working with the Rams’ Todd Gurley last season, Sirmans is just getting to know his new pupil. Sirmans said Lacy’s combination of size and agility is “amazing.” A slimmer Lacy should be amazing more often.
“We watched some of his great runs that he had from this past season,” Sirmans said, “and really just making him understand when you feel like from a fitness standpoint you’re right at the apex of where you want to be, you can do even more things to be even better. So it’s more about the mental mind-set of him knowing that the can only help himself.”
Plenty is at stake for Lacy this season. After letting himself go last year, Lacy needs to bounce back as he enters his final year under contract.
“I’m not too focused on that,” Lacy said. “That don’t matter if I don’t do what I have to do.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.