Nick Fairley had a career-high six sacks last season. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Allen Park — Nick Fairley’s weight in 2013 was problematic enough that Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said during the offseason the defensive tackle needed to “reposition” some of his pounds.
The 2011 first-round pick heard the criticism and lost nearly 30 pounds this offseason to slim down to about 295 pounds early this summer, but now says he’s back up to 305 pounds.
And coach Jim Caldwell said that’s not a problem.
“We’ve given him a range. His range wasn’t in 295,” Caldwell said Sunday. “He was far below it at that particular point in time, so the concern is a little bit different in that regard as it is as of today.”
Caldwell said the Lions measure all the players by body composition, using available technology to determine a player’s body fat and muscle mass.
Fairley played at more than 320 pounds last season, and his conditioning was a reason for his inconsistency during his first three seasons. It also played a role in the Lions’ decision to decline the fifth-year option on Fairley’s rookie contract, which will make him an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
During the offseason, Fairley had surgery to correct sleep apnea, and the Lions hope that can also help him stay healthy. Even though he’s put some of the weight he lost back on, the Lions are pleased with his conditioning at this point.
Caldwell even said Fairley lost five pounds during a recent practice, so his weight is likely to continue fluctuating.
“We’re pleased that Nick is moving in the right direction, and obviously he’s a guy that’s been working hard,” Caldwell said.