The new and improved Eddie Lacy that had the NFL buzzing this offseason finally arrived back at Lambeau Field for the start of the Green Bay Packers’ offseason program on Monday.
And his teammates quickly took notice.
“He looked good,” smiled quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “Obviously been doing a lot of P90X.”
The fourth-year running back ramped up his training after Packers coach Mike McCarthy called Lacy out for his weight during his season-ending news conference in January. Shortly thereafter, Lacy took up P90X founder Tony Horton on his offer to train together in Wyoming and California this offseason.
The former Pro Bowler and offensive rookie of the year saw his numbers and opportunity drop significantly in his third NFL season. After averaging 1,500 total yards and 12 touchdowns in his first two years, Lacy sputtered to 946 total yards and five touchdowns amidst questions about his commitment and conditioning.
With receiver Jordy Nelson (torn ACL) out for the year, the Packers desperately needed Lacy to take the reins of the offense like he did as a rookie in 2013 when Rodgers (broken collarbone) and receiver Randall Cobb (broken leg) missed the second half of the season. This time, however, it didn’t happen.
Multiple NFL sources said Lacy was well above his listed weight of 234 pounds. The Packers sought renewed commitment and all indications are Lacy obliged the request.
“I was going to crack a joke, but I won’t. He looked good,” receiver Jordy Nelson said. “We’re glad to have everyone back, get ready to work. That will be for him to answer. I didn’t ask him how much he weighed or his percent body fat or how fast he ran.”
Lacy still had his moments, including consecutive 100-yard games against Minnesota and Chicago, but he was benched for a second time after missing curfew the night before a Dec. 4 game against the Detroit Lions. He was productive in the playoffs (24 carries for 152 yards and one touchdown), but the entire season was too bumpy for the Packers' liking.
All offseason McCarthy has complimented Lacy on the steps he made since the end of the season.
“He’s a solid football player and a big contributor for us,” Rodgers said. “So he’s going to make sure he takes care of himself the right way and he’s got an infectious personality that everybody enjoys, enjoys seeing that big smile across the locker room. So we’re glad he’s our player.”
Lacy, who turns 26 in June, should have no shortage of motivation this year. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
When asked about whether Lacy let the team down last season, defensive lineman Mike Daniels said every player has times where they don’t play to their potential. His belief is Lacy will channel the negativity from last season into a turnaround in 2016.
Based on the photos of him this offseason, Lacy has taken McCarthy’s message to heart.
“I think Eddie looks good, man,” Daniels said. “We’ll see when the pads come on and everything, but I do think he’s a guy who rises to the occasion. He comes from a great program where they do things the right way. He came under a lot of fire, so I think he’s a guy that he got put on the spot and he responded.”