GREEN BAY – Eddie Lacy has gotten himself in better shape, but apparently he’s not done yet.
Lacy has visibly shed a few pounds from his playing weight of last year, but following Tuesday’s OTA practice at Ray Nitschke Field, the Packers’ running back suggested his conditioning work remains ongoing.
“There’s always room for improvement,” said Lacy, declining to discuss specific weight goals or numbers of lost pounds. “There’s a long time until training camp, too. I just have to keep going.”
Lacy was put on notice by Head Coach Mike McCarthy following the 2015 season regarding his conditioning, and he dedicated a chunk of his offseason to a variety of workouts – P90X, basketball, and even boxing.
He’s trimmer, but the goal isn’t to make him different from the powerful, burly running back he’s been his first three years in the NFL. The focus is on being able to do what he’s done more often and for longer stretches.
“I’m not going to get skinny like James Starks,” he said. “I’m always going to be big, just lighter. A little faster, quicker burst, things like that.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said “Eddie looks like Eddie,” while McCarthy termed things “so far, so good,” and sounded confident his offense will have the two-time 1,100-yard rusher from 2013-14 back this season.
Jordy Nelson’s pending return from a season-ending knee injury should play a huge part in the Packers’ offense resuming its explosive ways, but a repeat of Lacy’s career lows from 2015 (758 yards, 4.1 avg., three TDs) would likely hinder the collective effort.
“Eddie will be fine,” McCarthy said. “I believe he’ll hit the target we’re all looking for.”
That target isn’t being specified publicly, but Lacy’s physique will remain under public scrutiny, for better or worse. Lacy called the online chatter about his weight “annoying,” but he understands it’s part of the deal and all but admitted he needed the “wake-up call” from McCarthy.
“I felt like I handled it well and I held up my end of the bargain,” he said. “It’s a process. I’ve got to keep going and keep hoping for the best.
“At the end of the day, we’re all grown men. Whether he calls me out, I just have to take care of that responsibility. You don’t get mad or flash out or anything like that. You just take it as what it is and make it go away.”
The long-term impact this offseason will have on Lacy’s career is the part of the story yet to be written. Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, Lacy has all the incentive in the world to return to his old form.
In that respect, he said the wake-up call was “better sooner than later,” and the here and now is where his energies are being directed, not a future deal.
“I’m not really too focused on that,” Lacy said. “That doesn’t matter if I don’t do what I have to do.”
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