According to Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer was sent a weighty message by head coach Mike Tomlin following the end of the 2011 season as the Georgia Tech product was warned in front of all of his teammates that if he showed up to training camp overweight he would be out of a job.
Kinkhabwala reports that Tomlin had a picture of Dwyer up on the big screen in the meeting room when he called him out by name in front of the entire team in an attempt to get his point across that the running back needed to show up at Latrobe in shape.
“I already was where I needed to be then, but (Tomlin) addressed it, in case, said Dwyer, via Kinkhabwala . “It was a challenge to prove him wrong and prove to everybody else I could do it.”
The Thursday report by Kinkhabwala is not the first time that we have heard Dwyer needed to make sure he kept his weight down during the offseason as General Manager Kevin Colbert made it clear in an interview during the 2012 NFL Combine that the former sixth-round pick needed to keep his weight in check over the summer.
“You know every time he gets on the field he does something good, Colbert said, when asked on SiriusXM NFL Radio if Dwyer could be an option at running back at the beginning of the 2012 season should Rashard Mendenhall not be healthy by then. “He came in last year, the game he broke his foot in, and he had a 100 yards. And he\’s a big guy, and you know sometimes he\’s a little too big quite honestly. He has to keep his weight in check, but he\’s 245 to 255 and he can run.”
Dwyer took the warning to heart and he told us on the podcast back in early May that his summer plan was to train down in Florida at Bommarito Performance Systems alongside teammates Antonio Brown and Lawrence Timmons. While Dwyer still seemed to be a little thick around the middle when he showed up at the first OTA session at the end of May, he looked fit after the offseason when he showed up to Latrobe for training camp.
So was Dwyer just a lazy player with bad work ethic before, or was there another reason for him seeming lackadaisical to his conditioning and passion to play the game? According to Kinkhabwala, Dwyer had a problem adjusting to the NFL where he wasn\’t the star that he was in college.
“It\’s going from always being the guy to then having to sit down and learn,” said Dwyer, via the report. “It hurts you a little bit. I was turning away from people trying to help me and just being upset about the whole situation instead of doing something about it. But after getting a little taste of playing last year, I wanted more.”
Dwyer certainly has had more this season as he is now coming off of back-to-back 100 plus yard efforts while filling in for the injured Mendenhall and backup Isaac Redman. The third-year running back is currently nursing a right quad injury that he suffered on his final carry this past Sunday in the win over the Washington Redskins, but after practicing limited on Thursday he told the media that he expects to play Sunday against the New York Giants.
Following a big run early in the game against the Redskins, Dwyer made a gesture that resembled him needing to be fed more. He was, and that feeding will likely continue Sunday against the Giants. Luckily being fed the football won\’t go to his waist and any continued success that he has moving further shouldn\’t go to his head either.
I am pretty sure that Tomlin and Colbert both won\’t mind him getting fat on 100 yard games just the same. Eat up, Jonathan.