Reports to “Mini” Camp Grossly Overweight
What were you thinking?
Or maybe a better question is, “What were you eating?”
The Ravens behemoth defensive tackle reported to mandatory mini-camp on Tuesday grossly overweight. In fact, he was so bloated that head coach John Harbaugh pulled him from practice.
“He’s not ready to practice, just from a safety standpoint, for his own health and safety. We recognized that, and we pulled him off for that reason.”
So far as a professional, Pierce has earned $1.635 million over the course of his first three seasons in the NFL. In 2019, he will nearly double that with his second-round tender of $3.095 million.
Next year the numbers could be even more impressive if Pierce repeats his performance from 2018. But for now, his salary this coming season could be in jeopardy. None of his second-round tender offer is guaranteed. Assuming he’s injury free, Pierce could be let go without recourse and the Ravens could pad their salary cap resources by $3.095 M.
Pierce signed that tender back on May 1. The Ravens haven’t seen the 2016 undrafted free agent at The Castle since the 2018 season ended. He wasn’t part of the voluntary offseason conditioning program. It’s possible that Pierce wasn’t even in attendance to sign his tender, all of which can be done remotely. It’s also possible that the Ravens were not aware of Pierce’s impressive rewards card point totals at participating fast food joints.
Some may suggest that it’s only June and Pierce will have roughly 5 weeks to shed ample weight and prepare for his mandatory conditioning test before he can set foot on the practice field during training camp. But judging from the pictures above, Pierce will need to shed 40 or more pounds to get back to his playing weight of 340. And that’s going to require discipline that Pierce hasn’t shown since February.
The discipline aside, there are health concerns when a person loses so much weight so quickly. Will it deplete his body of needed nutrients? Will it affect his stamina? Might the lack of endurance put him behind the curve in camp and call his effectiveness on the field come September into question?
And here’s a daunting thought…
Might his need to get on the field and perform well in order to cash in next season, like recently departed teammates C.J. Mosley and Za’Darius Smith did, tempt him to try PEDs in order to lose weight comparable to a moderately-size adolescent?
You would think that the Ravens kept some sort of watchful eye over Pierce this offseason within the confines of the collective bargaining agreement. After all, his ability to push the pocket is a desired skill that could provide value to the team’s edge rushers. But for now, the Ravens are more concerned about Pierce pushing away from the supper table.
Maybe the team’s full-court press on Gerald McCoy makes more sense now.