GridironGrit.com http://gridirongrit.com NFL, College Football, NFL Draft and Fantasy Football News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:55:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Emmanuel Sanders: Manning ‘Far Better Leader’ Than Roethlisberger http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/emmanuel-sanders-manning-far-better-leader-than-roethlisberger/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/emmanuel-sanders-manning-far-better-leader-than-roethlisberger/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:13:53 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=24903

Emmanuel Sanders took his talents to the Mile High City earlier this offseason after spending his first four NFL seasons in the Steel City. Despite hauling in passes from one of the game’s best quarterbacks during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sanders says he’s noticed an immediate and significant difference between Ben Roethlisberger and his new quarterback, Peyton Manning.

“I feel like Peyton is a far better leader, in terms of staying after practice, catching balls, wanting guys to get on the same page with him, things of that sort, Sanders told 104.3 The Fan in Denver.

“This is the first time I’ve had a quarterback that every single day after practice—no matter what his accolades, NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP—he keeps guys like me and [rookie receiver Cody] Latimer after practice. . . . He’s not one of those guys you’ve got to chase down. He’s going to be right in the same spot, ready to work, every single day. I just feel like that’s a difference from a mental standpoint.”

[RELATED: Age Brings Wisdom: The NFL's All Over-30 Team]

Photo Credit: Eric Lars Bakke/DenverBroncos.com

Photo Credit: Eric Lars Bakke/DenverBroncos.com

[RELATED: Ranking the Most Underpaid Players in the NFL]

For what it’s worth, Sanders’ sentiments are intended to reflect Peyton’s rare work ethic, leadership and determination, as opposed to knocking Big Ben. The former 2010 third round pick (No. 82 overall) out of SMU added that Roethlisberger is also a winner and he enjoyed their time as teammates, but is happy to be in Denver.

“I’ve got so much love for Ben,” Sanders said. “At the same time, I’m not going to lie. I’m happy to be part of this organization and happy that Peyton is my quarterback.”

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound receiver comes off a solid breakout 2013 campaign, as he set a career-high in receptions (67), yards (740) and touchdowns (six).

[RELATED: Breakout Candidates For Every NFL Team in 2014]

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for the latest news and analysis on the NFL and College Football.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Reggie McKenzie Compares Khalil Mack To Clay Matthews http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/reggie-mckenzie-compares-khalil-mack-to-clay-matthews/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/reggie-mckenzie-compares-khalil-mack-to-clay-matthews/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:32:37 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=24898

The Oakland Raiders have sky-high expectations for rookie linebacker Khalil Mack, and for good reason. The team selected him with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and many believe they were lucky to get him.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is already comparing Mack to one of the league’s top pass rushers.

He’s reminded me of Clay Matthews from Day 1,” McKenzie told Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. “He’s one of those guys that knows how to set the edge, and he has length and power and some tools to rush the passer. He’s got that first step, he can bend, he’s relentless.”

[RELATED: Age Brings Wisdom: The NFL's All Over-30 Team]

Photo Credit: Raiders.com

Photo Credit: Raiders.com

[RELATED: Ranking the Most Underpaid Players in the NFL]

Mack (6-foot-3, 252 pounds) is virtually the same exact size as Matthews (6-foot-3, 255 pounds), but McKenziewho served as Green Bay’s director of player personnel when the Packers drafted Matthews with the No. 26 overall pick in 2009—was drawn much more to Mack’s knack for getting to the quarterback and his violent playing style.

“That’s what Clay was, you don’t have to tell him to go sic ‘em. He just innately does that. Khalil is the same way,” McKenzie said. “It’s hard to find guys that are skillful that have that innate ability.”

Despite missing nine games over the last two seasons, Matthews, 28, has still managed to rack up 82 combined tackles with 20.5 sacks and four forced fumbles since 2012. The four-time Pro Bowler, who was voted the No. 77 best player on the Top 100 Players of 2014 (after ranking No. 31 in 2013), has recorded 245 tackles, 50.0 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and four interceptionstwo returned for touchdowns in five NFL seasons.

Oakland is unlikely to compete for playoff contention this season, and that could lead to the departure of head coach Dennis Allen and/or general manager Reggie McKenzie. But the team has added some nice pieces this offseason, and the new-look defense should keep the Silver and Black in a lot of games in 2014. Mack is also a prime candidate for DROY honors.

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for the latest news and analysis on the NFL and College Football.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Photo: Fan Kisses J.J. Watt in Training Camp Selfie http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/photo-fan-kisses-j-j-watt-in-training-camp-selfie/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/photo-fan-kisses-j-j-watt-in-training-camp-selfie/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:03:37 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=24888

J.J. Watt is widely regarded as arguably the best defensive player in the NFL today. The Houston Texans’ star two-time first-team All-Pro defensive end was just voted the No. 12 best player on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2014 and is referred to as a “game-wrecker” and “a menace in the trenches” by his peers.

But as much recognition that the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year gets for his on-field accomplishments, it’s the ones he does off the gridiron that are the most impressive.

Watt, currently one of the NFL’s most underpaid players, didn’t have much time to visit with the fans who showed up for the Texans’ first day of training camp on Saturday, but he did manage to make one young female admirer’s day.

[RELATED: Ranking the Most Underpaid Players in the NFL]

[RELATED: Age Brings Wisdom: The NFL's All Over-30 Team]

Watt also made headlines earlier this offseason when he photobombed Russell Wilson at the Final Four, teamed up with former First Lady Barbara Bush to tackle illiteracy and helped a special needs kid prove to his schoolmates he was actually friends with Watt. The fourth-year defensive end has also previously proposed to a six-year-old admirer and surprised a 12-year-old boy fighting leukemia.

In his first three seasons, the former 2011 first round pick (No. 11 overall) has registered a total of 217 tackles with 36.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles.

 [RELATED: Highlighting the 10 Best Role Models in the NFL Today]

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for the latest news and analysis on the NFL and College Football.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Vikings Sign TE Kyle Rudolph To Five-Year, $36.5 Million Extension http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/vikings-sign-te-kyle-rudolph-to-five-year-36-5-million-extension/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/vikings-sign-te-kyle-rudolph-to-five-year-36-5-million-extension/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 02:54:43 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=24891

The Minnesota Vikings have reportedly signed Kyle Rudolph to a five-year, $36.5 million contract extension.

[RELATED: Ranking the Most Underpaid Players in the NFL]

Photo Credit: Vikings.com

Photo Credit: Vikings.com

[RELATED: Age Brings Wisdom: The NFL's All Over-30 Team]

This may seem like a lot of money to hand a fourth-year tight end who has hauled in just 109 receptions for 1,055 yards and 15 touchdowns in three seasons with the Vikings. But the former 2011 second round selection (No. 43 overall) out of Notre Dame is poised for a huge breakout season with the arrival of tight end guru Norv Turner.

[RELATED: Breakout Candidates For Every NFL Team in 2014]

Rudolph, 24, has also been diligent in his road to recovery from the fractured foot that caused him to miss the final eight games of his 2013 campaign and has reportedly dropped 15 pounds this offseason to try to get quicker in and out of his breaks.

Don’t be surprised if he follows in the footsteps of Jordan Cameron, Randy McMichael and Antonio Gates, who each had career years under the guidance of Norv Turner. He’ll be a great asset for Matt Cassel and/or Teddy Bridgewater.

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for the latest news and analysis on the NFL and College Football.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Sean Payton: ‘I Want To Coach Until I’m 80′ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/sean-payton-i-want-to-coach-until-im-80/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/sean-payton-i-want-to-coach-until-im-80/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 16:22:37 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=24883

Drew Brees made news on Friday when he said he feels like he’s 25 years old (he’s actually 35) and wants to play another 10 years. Now his head coach Sean Payton has decided to one-up the New Orleans Saints star quarterback, claiming he feels like he’s 30 and wants to coach for another 30 years.

“I feel 30 and I want to coach ’til I’m 80,” Payton cracked.

Payton’s teasing quickly turned to praise when he was asked if he saw Brees showing any signs of slowing down as he enters his 14th NFL season and eighth year with the Saints.

[RELATED: Age Brings Wisdom: The NFL's All Over-30 Team]

Photo Credit: Michael C. Hebert/NewOrleansSaints.com

Photo Credit: Michael C. Hebert/NewOrleansSaints.com

“I don’t see that in his play, in his preparation,” Payton said, via ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “I really don’t. It is a credit to not only his mental preparation but how he takes care of himself. I’ve said this time and time again, he is a very routine-driven person with regards to exercise, diet. If you just want to get his attention you just say, ‘Hey they have gluten free pancakes today.’ And he would be like, ‘Where?’

“He pays attention to all of that. Look, that means a lot when you talk about years in this league.”

Something tells us that even if Payton was exaggerating or just making it up, there’s a pretty good chance Saints fans will try to get Brees’ attention (and the attention of TV cameras) this season with gameday signs about gluten free pancakes.

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for the latest news and analysis on the NFL and College Football.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Dee Milliner: I’m the Best Cornerback in the NFL http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/dee-milliner-im-the-best-cornerback-in-the-nfl/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/dee-milliner-im-the-best-cornerback-in-the-nfl/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 00:32:40 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=24874

Many believe that New York Jets second-year cornerback Dee Milliner is poised for a breakout season. Some even say he has a pretty good chance of “making the Pro Bowl within the next two years.”

But last year’s No. 9 overall pick is taking it a step further—claiming he’s the best cornerback in the NFL today.

The best corner in the league? Me,” Milliner told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News after practice on Saturday. “I ain’t gonna say that somebody else is better than me.

[RELATED: Age Brings Wisdom: The NFL's All Over-30 Team]

Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com

Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com

[RELATED: Breakout Candidates For Every NFL Team in 2014]

“I’m not going to say somebody that plays the same position is better than me,” Milliner said. “Don’t care if they’ve been in the league 10 years and I’ve been here five months. That’s how it’s going to go. I’m the best. I’m not going to say that another man that plays the same position… and say he’s better than me? I can’t do that.”

You have to believe in yourself in order to succeed, but Milliner is sounding a little bit too much like Kayne West.

There’s no question he’ll have to be on his A-game right out of the gate though as Milliner and the rest of the Jets’ seemingly suspect secondary will face Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Keenan Allen and Demaryius Thomas in just the team’s first six games of the 2014 season.

[RELATED: Ranking the Most Underpaid Players in the NFL]

“They say the pressure is on, but I ain’t worried about it,” Milliner said with a laugh. “I’m not worried about pressure. I go out there and do what I’m coached to do.”

Milliner was selected with the No. 9 overall pick in last year’s draft, but fell short of expectations, grading out as the No. 87 CB out of 110 qualifiers in pass coverage by PFF (Pro Football Focus) and getting benched three times in his rookie season.

Nevertheless, his transition to the NFL was certainly affected by his absence from last year’s offseason program while he was rehabbing from shoulder surgery and he did finish the season strong, earning Defensive Rookie of the Month honors in December.

“We criticize Dee because I benched him,” head coach Rex Ryan said on Saturday. “Well, I benched great players before in the past….I’ve benched them all at one point or another. Because sometimes they need to sit down and take a look. Then you put them back out there. What I noticed from him is that he grew. As the season wore on, he knew that he could play in this league.”

[RELATED: Who Will Have Breakout Season For Jets in 2014?]

Don’t cast a Kayne West label to Milliner, though. He “isn’t a chest-thumping, look-at me guy,” Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News writes. “He took ownership of his mistakes during his rookie year, never hid from criticism and gave a blunt assessment of his first season with the big boys.”

“It wasn’t too good at the beginning of the season. So, that’s an ‘F’ right there,” Milliner said. “I gave myself a B+ how I finished…. But it ain’t about the grades. It’s about what I can do each week. Whatever it takes for us to win the game, that’s what I need to do.”

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for the latest news and analysis on the NFL and College Football.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Photo: Jaguars Owner Shad Khan Is NFL’s Slickest Owner http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/photo-jaguars-owner-shad-khan-is-nfls-slickest-owner/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/photo-jaguars-owner-shad-khan-is-nfls-slickest-owner/#comments Sat, 26 Jul 2014 21:28:00 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=24869

The Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t had a winning season since 2007 and have just three winning seasons since the turn of the century, but there’s no question that the club is moving in the right direction under second-year head coach Gus Bradley, third-year general manager David Caldwell and third-year owner Shad Khan.

Khan doesn’t get nearly as much national attention as Dallas Cowboys owner, president and general manager Jerry Jones or Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyderprimarily because of the team’s location and Khan’s hands-off management style, as he chooses to just put his trust in Caldwell and Bradley and let them do their thing.

However, the NFL’s fifth-richest owner has something Jones and Snyder never will—a slick look.

[RELATED: Ranking the Most Underpaid Players in the NFL]

[RELATED: Jaguars Owner Purchases English Soccer Team]

H/T theScore

[RELATED: Age Brings Wisdom: The NFL's All Over-30 Team]

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for the latest news and analysis on the NFL and College Football.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Drew Brees Wants To Play Until He’s 45 http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/drew-brees-wants-to-play-until-hes-45/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/drew-brees-wants-to-play-until-hes-45/#comments Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:17:49 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=24864

You would think that most NFL quarterbacks who are still playing at the age of 35 would be seriously considering retirement. But Drew Brees has other ideas. The New Orleans Saints’ star signal-caller, who has thrown for over 4,000 yards in each of his eight seasons with the team and comes off three consecutive 5,000-yard campaigns, says he feels so good that he wants to play another 10 years.

“I’m not getting ahead myself, like it’s a pipe dream at 45,” Brees said on Friday, via NFL.com. “I understand the challenges that come along with that. But why not? If I can stay healthy, and I’m having fun and playing at a high level, why wouldn’t I wanna do that?”

[RELATED: Age Brings Wisdom: The NFL's All Over-30 Team]

Photo Credit: NewOrleansSaints.com

Photo Credit: NewOrleansSaints.com

[RELATED: Ranking 10 Best NFL Free Agents Still Available]

The eight-time Pro Bowler currently ranks fifth all time with 51,081 career passing yards and fourth with 363 touchdowns. He’s also the only QB in NFL history to complete 400(+) passes six times and throw for 5,000 yards four times and 40(+) TDs in consecutive seasons.

Brees knows that his biggest challenge has to do with his physical condition, but mentality also plays a major factor.

“I think so much of it is a mindset,” Brees added. “If I tell myself I’m 25, I’m 25 and honest to God that’s my mindset. I can play for another 10 years. And that would be my goal. I’m taking it one year at a time but there’s no reason why I couldn’t do that.”

The former 2001 second round pick out of Purdue also referenced the late-career success of Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Tom Brady and says “there’s nothing I can’t do now that I could do 10-15 years ago.”

“If everything you do, you’re trying to win at, and you’re pissed if you don’t it becomes your nature,” Brees said after setting up quarterbacks challenges with his position group. “It is my nature. It’s hard for me not to do that. And that’s what motivates you, and gets you going. I mean, I’m 10 years older than all of those quarterbacks [referencing the other QBs on the team], and I’m thinking, ‘Am I gonna let this young punk beat me? I’m not gonna let this young punk beat me at anything!”

“So it’s getting the best out of me. I’m trying to get the best out of them, too. So at the end of the day, we’re both better than we would’ve been otherwise.”

[RELATED: Breakout Candidates For Every NFL Team in 2014]

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for the latest news and analysis on the NFL and College Football.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Bucs Cut Two-Time All Pro Guard Carl Nicks http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/bucs-cut-two-time-all-pro-guard-carl-nicks/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/bucs-cut-two-time-all-pro-guard-carl-nicks/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 22:02:49 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=24857

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reportedly released two-time All-Pro guard Carl Nicks less than two and a half years after handing him a blockbuster five-year, $47.5 million deal in March 2012.

Tampa Bay wound up forking over just $25 million to the colossal 6-foot-5, 349-pound lineman, but that’s still a ton of money for a guy that only played nine games in two seasons. Nicks, 29, was owed a $7 million base salary, but his NFL future doesn’t look very promising as he’s currently dealing with a career-threatening toe injury.

[RELATED: Ranking 10 Best NFL Free Agents Still Available]

Photo Credit: Buccaneers.com

Photo Credit: Buccaneers.com

[RELATED: The NFL's 10 Most Underpaid Players of 2014]

We still expect the team to emerge from the bottom-feeder in its division to a legitimate playoff contender this season after all of the offseason additions, particularly in the trenches—signing ex-Bengals DE Michael Johnson and OT Anthony Collins, along with a quality run-stuffer in ex-Seahawks DL Clinton McDonald (also another former Bengal) and former Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith.

Smith and Collins will certainly help out Josh McCown and/or Mike Glennon this season—who will also be working with massive set of weapons in wide outs Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but the loss of Nicks leaves the team with arguably the league’s weakest depth chart at guard heading into 2014.

Oniel Cousins is now the projected starting left guard to open the season, with Jamon Meredith and Patrick Omameh batting on the right side. This could become a major roadblock for the Bucs’ ground game, which was looking very promising with a two-headed monster in Doug Martin (aka the Mustle Hamster) and rookie Charles Sims.

[RELATED: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Who Will Have Breakout Season in 2014?]

It’s worth noting that Nicks is known for more than his impressive play with the New Orleans Saints (2008-11) and injury-riddled tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-13).

Voted the No. 76 best player on the Top 100 Players of 2012 and No. 55 in the 2011 rankings, Nicks also stole the airwaves when he excitedly shouted “I’m going to mother-f***ing Disneyland!” in a post-game radio interview as he and the Saints celebrated winning Super Bowl XLIV.

Nicks now joins an ever-increasing list of big-name free agents. We’ll keep you updated with the 10 best NFL free agents on the open market at the start of next week. Our latest set of rankings, posted on Monday, can be seen here.

[RELATED: Age Brings Wisdom: The NFL's All Over-30 Team]

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for the latest news and analysis on the NFL and College Football.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Ravens Linebacker Up To 300 Pounds? http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/ravens-linebacker-up-to-300-pounds/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/07/ravens-linebacker-up-to-300-pounds/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 17:11:47 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=24851

Baltimore Ravens third-year outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw is generating some buzz this offseason—but unlike a lot of players it’s not for off-the-field trouble or his on-field performance.

The former 2012 second round pick (No. 35 overall) out of Alabama—who was called out by coach John Harbaugh last year for “eating too much”—continues to struggle to stay in shape.

[RELATED: Age Brings Wisdom: The NFL's All Over-30 Team]

Photo Credit: BaltimoreRavens.com

Photo Credit: BaltimoreRavens.com

[RELATED: Ranking 10 Best NFL Free Agents Still Available]

After showing up to mandatory minicamp overweight last month, the 6-foot-2 outside linebacker looks even bigger at training camp, according to ESPN Ravens beat writer Jamison Hensley.

The challenge for Upshaw is eating healthy,” Hensley writes. “There were times Thursday when he was taking a knee between reps to catch his breath.”

Rotoworld believes he’s knocking on the door of 300 pounds, which is ridiculous for a linebacker.

The ideal weight for Upshaw is around 270-275 pounds, so Upshaw has a ways to go and little time to get in shape with less than six weeks until the start of the regular season.

In two seasons, Upshaw, 24, has appeared in all 32 games (22 starts) and racked up a total of 90 tackles with just 3.0 sacks and a forced fumble. He’ll continue to focus primarily on setting the edge as a proficient run defender on early downs, assuming his weight doesn’t hold him back from providing enough impact to stay on the field.

[RELATED: Breakout Candidates For Every NFL Team in 2014]

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for the latest news and analysis on the NFL and College Football.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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