Daniel McCullers Hopes To Drop 15-20 Pounds During Offseason

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Daniel McCullers is a very large man but the team’s former sixth-round draft pick hopes to get a little smaller weight-wise during the offseason in order to become a better player.

“This offseason I am going to train hard, hopefully I am going to drop some weight,” McCullers said recently, according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “I feel like I can get down and be more productive and effective. I would like to drop 15-20 pounds. I feel like if I can be around 335-340 pounds, I can have the movement that I want. I feel like I can be a much better player, if I get that quickness and explosion. If I have that quickness and explosion and work on my technique, I can be a great player. You just have to do it. I want to do it. I want to be a great player.”

McCullers, who played a career-high 182 defensive snaps last season for the Steelers, also told Varley that he hopes improve his fundamentals, techniques, and mental understanding of game during the offseasion as well.

“That is a big part of the league. You have to make sure you are mentally right for that every game. I want to work on that. It can be tough at times, the mental part,” McCullers said.

After the Steelers lost starting defensive end Cameron Heyward to a pectoral injury during the first half of the regular season, McCullers wound up needing to play more snaps and the Tennessee product ended the regular season with 17 total tackles and that included his first full sack of his career.

“It helped me grow, McCullers said of Heyward going down injured last season. “With him being hurt, it put me out there in the fire. It made me have to step up and be productive and help the team.”

McCullers certainly has a reason to be more motivated this offseason than he may have been in previous years as he’s about to enter the final year of his rookie contract in a few more weeks. If that’s not enough, the fact that the Steelers need him to become more than just a base 3-4 nose tackle is yet another reason why he should lose a few pounds in addition to improving his overall play.

Former Steelers’ great Joe Greene is probably still looking for something other than weight loss from McCullers.

What I would like to see, I would like to see No. 62 (Dan McCullers) get his tail over the center and beat the crap out of the center, the guard on the right side and the guard on the left side,” Green said of the Steelers defensive tackle a few weeks into the 2015 regular season. “Then we will be better. Show some energy by what you are trying to do. You’ve got the size, you have the ability, you just have to get out there and do it. If he starts doing what he is capable of doing then the rest of that defense will fall in line.”

While McCullers appears to be somewhat of a lock to make the Steelers 2017 final 53-man roster as we sit here in late February, that outlook could change quickly if the team decides to select another big defensive lineman in this year’s draft or address the position during free agency. Even if the Steelers ignore the defensive line position during the draft and free agency, you can bet they’ll sign a few undrafted free agents to push McCullers and others during training camp.

It sounds like Big Dan is in store for some big changes during the upcoming months and it will certainly be interesting to see what he looks like this year in Latrobe if he accomplishes his goal of losing 15-20 pounds.



  • Spencer Krick

    It’s a contract year for McCullers, isn’t it?

  • Craig M

    Don’t worry about the weight muscle weighs more than fat, go carry the weights at Harrisons conditioning camp and concentrate more on technique.

  • Ralph Wagner

    O.K we heard his goal, I hope he is a light switch and can turn it on. LOL

  • RickM

    After every season he seems to have a new goal. ‘I just have to play with more intensity’ has been the one for the last two years. I think he would be very smart to lose weight. I just hope he seriously tries to accomplish it.

  • Matt Manzo

    I hope he improves in those areas, too!

  • Kevin artis

    He wants to lose 15-20 pounds to get to 340?

  • Andrew

    For a 6th round pick, the guy has been productive enough. I still think he is a great depth player.

  • Conserv_58

    The biggest hurdle McCullers has is between his ears. Physically, he’s an imposing figure of a man. Mentally, he’s as soft as a marshmallow. He is, by nature, a soft spoken, laid back, easy going person. That easy going aspect of his personality was quickly recognized by Cam Heyward and several other of his defensive teammates during his rookie season. Cam and a couple of the defensive players were interviewed and asked what they thought of the new rookie. Cam and the others said that big Dan needs to be more aggressive. To a man, they said he needs to develop a nasty streak in order for him to be what the team needs him to be. He’s got the size and strength to be a dominant player, but he lacks a mean streak. If McCullers can develop a nasty disposition, along with losing fifteen lbs., then he can dominate anyone he goes against. It’s up to big Dan to match is on-the-field persona with his size and strength.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I don’t care about his weight as much as his desire to actually be an impact player.

  • Sdale


  • Michael Mosgrove

    That’s an illogical fallacy. A pound is a pound.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    He’s a classic gentle giant alright, and the bullying he suffered due to his weight apparently extinguished whatever fire he had. His problem; he has to cut so much weight to gain the quickness that he’ll get blown off the ball because he plays too high.

  • JohnnyFootball

    Some guys just don’t have it in them. Those guys usually go in the late rounds, instead of early ones. And then slowly fade out of the league.

  • george

    So after three years you want to be develop more quickness and explosiveness? A bit of a slow learner I’d say.

  • george

    Maybe they should spinkle some gun powder on his corn flakes.

  • Conserv_58

    LOL! Apparently, you missed the part where if he loses fifteen lbs. it’ll get him to around 340lbs.? There aren’t many guards and centers that are going to simply blow him off of the ball at 340 lbs. He does play too high, but if he can lose some of his excess girth it should help a lot in him getting his 6’7″ frame and pad level lower.

  • Conserv_58

    If anything, that should allow him to fart smoke rings.

  • Conserv_58

    A true statement.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    He supposedly cut down to 335 before the start of last season with the same
    goal in mind. Did he gain weight during the course of the season?, I dunno. Also, if he plays over the nose he’ll probably get double teamed. Snack was at least as heavy but 6-7″ shorter.

  • John Pennington

    Dan can lose 100 pounds it won’t matter if can’t get meaner get off his blocks and quit being like baby Huey.Dan should be dominateing but in 3 years he can’t stay on the field long never seems to grasp what he bringing taught still can’t get off blocks and let guards move him at will.At the end some players have it some don’t it shouldn’t take until the last year of your contract for the light to come on.If you don’t listen to Joe Greene then you won’t listen to anyone.Hargrave came in and took his spot in a rookie season don’t say much for a man who been there for 3years and still can’t figure it out.If the Steelers draft another defensive tackle he is gone and it’s Dan’s fault.What a waste of talent to lazy to play on the dlineman.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Hot peppers! Eat them, spread the oil over some private parts and let him loose. That will get Big Dan to play with fire.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Other than goal line, he’s a liability on the field. I hope losing weight helps him, but I wouldn’t count on that. The Steelers need to line up some bodies at that position going in to camp.

  • Dan

    I thought he dropped some weight last offseason? At any rate, the word about him is more about a lack of aggression than anything else. That’s something that can’t really be taught.

  • Steel B

    Should have been working on this from the get go.

  • Dan

    He was a 6th round pick for legitimate reasons.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Not sure he even needs to lose weight, when he gets mad no one can handle the guy, what we need is a guy to keep him angry during the game.

  • SilverSteel

    I think he means that 300 lbs of fat just gets in the way. 300 lbs of muscle on the other hand is a force to be reckoned with. He does not need to be lighter, just convert that fat into muscle. Deebo will show him the way for sure 🙂

  • David Dulaney

    The dude’s a stiff. Move on.

  • Ken Krampert

    You can’t teach a dude desire, attitude, toughness, a mean streak etc. He will never live up to his potential based on that fact.

  • colingrant

    1) Progress. An ounce of desire has proclaimed
    2) Weight’s not his issue, “want to” and emotion is needed.
    3) His fate is in his hands, but draft day may determine it also. He was passed over by nearly every available defensive linemen last year, so a draft pick or summer camp sensation can place him on the waiver wire. His career is in the balance.
    He can accept his fate or deny it. It’s up to him, but so far he hasn’t met the two challenges placed before him. First, he didn’t even put up a fight in the battle to McClendon at DT. Hargrave is more talented, but Dan basically deferred to him, as Hargrave was inserted as a starter nearly immediately with no fight whatsover.
    Second, he was overtaken on the depth chart by Maxey and Walton who replaced Matthews after Heyward went down. Who else will he allow to leapfrog him.

  • walter

    Reminds me of Adams. He is just to easy going.

  • walter

    I dont know why we dont try him as a blocker when we are on the one foot line

  • ND_Steel

    He just seems to be depth at best. An average to above average 6th rd pick.

  • Rusted Out

    It is not an illogical fallacy. It’s simple physics. Muscle weighs more than fat by volume. A pound of fat occupies much more space than a pound of muscle. Craig could’ve simply added “by volume” and it’s a perfectly accurate statement.

  • Rusted Out

    Ole Shade Tree has plenty of fat to convert. I’ve grown to like him more each season, although I still don’t see much fire in him as Mean Joe stated. Hearing him say things like “hopefully I am going to drop some weight” only confirms that for me. What do you mean “hopefully”? Just do it! No need to be hopeful if you have passion and drive and believe in yourself. We’ll see how he looks come training camp. I’m curious to see what his role will be next year.

  • thomas hmmmm

    Here is an idea…
    Tomlin should hire Dan’s wife or gf to b**ch moan and complain to him while he is on the sidelines so he goes into the game p*ssed and full of anger.

  • Rusted Out

    Because he’s a giant slug with no explosion.

  • LucasY59

    Its a big yr for Dan, the rest of his career is kinda on the line, he needs to prove that he is worth keeping past his rookie contract,

    I think he could be good enough depth behind Hargrave and am interested to see if losing some weight will help him play any better

    as long as he is on the team and isnt doing anything that blatantly hurts the team I think he is a player worth having on the team, some fans dont like him, but I think they are mainly just frustrated that they see a guy they think should dominate not doing so, which is somewhat understandable but just as much unreasonable (if it was easy to dominate in the NFL, something is wrong) this is a 6th rd pick that is a depth player, he had a shot at the starting spot but a talented (3rd rd) rookie beat him out, he has done exactly what he was drafted to do (so far) and I cant fault him for that (at least he has been good enough to make the team, since plenty of 4th and 5th rd picks from the last few yrs havent been able to do the same)

  • Steve

    When Big Dan played 2 years ago I was waiting for him to have this blow out year. He has not shown any explosiveness and his ability to play a series has declined. He has trouble with his stamina.
    This year needs to be much better for Dan or I can see the Steelers letting him go. The nose tackle position is a two down position and with Heyward, Tuitt and Hargrave leading the way on our Defensive line, Shade Tree is the odd man out.

  • Steve

    Snack was a clog up the middle, which Shade Tree has not been. Big Snack also was All Pro and had much trouble making the 100 yard sprints, unless MaMa was calling him for Dinner. Shade Tree is only 24 and hopefully gets mean and lean.

  • Steve

    Justin Gilbert was a First Rounder who Joe Thomas said has little interest in Football.

  • Steve

    Adams was a complete idiot, Dan is not that. After what Adams did on the southside, getting into trouble, he had no place on the Steelers team. The Steelers spent a high draft pick on Adams when Dan was a 6th rounder.

  • SilverSteel

    Yeah, I was concerned about his comment also. “Hopefully” does not cut it in this league. At his weight you should be able to drop 20 lbs in 3 weeks and 50 in 3 mths. easy. Stop eating at night and workout every day – done. Well, it wouldn’t be easy but definitely within the reach of the off season.

  • SilverSteel

    I agree. I do think he made some strides this year, but he has zero intimidation factor. He is not scary, and for his size – he should be. This game has always been largely mental and I still think he can be a contributor if he gets that part of it together. I would use psychological tricks – like pretending the QB is smacking your grandma or something and then just going off on anyone in front of you. I say that as a joke, but you get what I mean. 🙂

  • Conserv_58

    Casey Hampton had the one attribute that McCullers lacks, an aggressive, tough guy attitude.

    You’re also talking about two very different body types.

    Casey was 6’1″ and weighed 325 lbs. He was also a barrell chested wide body. I used to say, Casey is as wide as he his tall. He had the power, lower body mass and girth, (big butt and thick legs) that defensive line coaches look for in a true NT. His shorter height and wide body allowed him to get his pad level low enough to use his power and strength to take on centers and guards and not get driven back off of the LOS. At his best, guards and centers could not move Casey, even with double teams because he had such tremendous power and lower body mass.

    McCullers is a different body type all together. First, his height, 6’7″, is abnormally tall for the NT position. When you add in his weight, 350 lbs. it’s understandable why he struggles with getting his pad level low enough to take advantage of his power and strength. Dan is not a squat wide body the way Casey was.

    Tell ya’s one thing, I stood within a few yards of big Dan the past three training camps and seeing him in person is eye popping. The first thing that comes to your mind when seeing him is, “DAYUM, he’s so massive!” Seeing him stand along side of his DL team mates really allows you to appreciate how big he is. He makes Cam Heyward and Tuitt look small. He also has the biggest calf muscles I’ve ever seen. He could be amongst a group of offensive and defensive lineman during practice and you could easily pick him out just by looking at their calves. They’re freaking huge! They’re bigger than my thighs.

    If coach Mitchell can some how light a fire under his huge butt and get him to play angry, only then will big Dan realize his potential. I’ve said many times, if big Dan had Deebo’s playing disposition he’d be unstoppable and a perennial pro bowler.

  • Rusted Out

    I’m happy with him as a depth player behind Hargrave. I think he’s a solid contributor for a 6th rounder. He costs the steelers very little.

  • Conserv_58

    When I read about him saying, “hopefully…” that is a sure indication that McCullers still lacks the confidence and conviction in his ability to be able to achieve what he knows he must.

    There is one life lesson I learned and that is, “you will never become more or less than what your mind’s eye sees you as being.” In other words, much of our success or failures in life depends on our belief systems. If do don’t believe you will have succes then despite your efforts to the contrary, you won’t have success and visa versa.

  • Conserv_58

    It is quite apparent that McCullers lacks the self discipline to reach his stated goals. He talks the talk, but he lacks the conviction to follow through on what he says. In essence, he doesn’t believe in himself. Therefore, without even realizing it, he subconsciously sabotages himself.

  • Conserv_58

    That bad attitude that Joe was referring to has ruined countless careers. It’s even more aggravating when you think about all of those guys that eat, sleep, dream and sacrifice everything to try and make it into the NFL, yet for one reason or another, they just can’t seem to grasp that brass ring.

  • Aj Gentile

    I was thinking more of paying the other teams center to talk about his mama

  • Tim Clark

    Not really a cubic centimeter of muscle weighs more than a cubic centimeter of fat.

  • Biophys

    First, I think that the phrase you are searching for is “logical fallacy”. An illogical fallacy would imply that the statement is accidentally logical.

    Second, liter for liter, muscle does in fact weigh more than fat. One liter of white adipose tissue weighs approximately 85% the weight of one liter of striated muscle tissue.

    Third, generally speaking, you don’t convert fat into muscle. Although your body can synthesize some amino acids from the breakdown products of fatty acids (by way of anapleuric reactions after acylCoA enters the tricarboxylic acid cycle), this is an inefficient way to produce the building blocks of muscle cells. One is generally better off eating a big fat steak and a tub of yogurt.

    Because science. 😉

  • Michael Mosgrove

    thats why my degree is in aerospace engineering. i dont have time for biochemistry.

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