Michael Turner is trimming the fat.
The Falcons RB, who had a breakout season in 2008 with 1,699 rushing yards (second in the league) and 17 TDs, said he took a step back last year because he was living a little too large.
Turner is listed on the team website at 5-10, 244 pounds, but even he acknowledges that he was well above that weight last year.
"If you go back and look at some pictures of me from last year at this time, I probably looked big — a lot bigger than normal," Turner told Jim Trotter of SI.com after a recent organized team activity. "I was heavy, too heavy. It was hard for me to overcome."
A high ankle sprain limited Turner to only 11 games last year, and he missed parts of two of those. The injury wasn't surprising to some, as he ran the ball 376 times in 2008, which was 148 more carries than he had in four seasons with San Diego.
Last season, he amassed only 871 rushing yards (just over half the prior year's total), and he believes the extra weight didn't help. As a result, the seven-year veteran came to minicamp sporting a trimmed down physique.
"I feel great," Turner said. "I'm out there running around and feel like I can run all day. I'm definitely out to prove that I'm not a a one-year wonder. I don't want to be one of those guys that people say, 'Oh, yeah. He had one good year, but what happened to him after that?' I want to keep putting back-to-back seasons together."
He said he's knocked greasy foods out of his diet and he's on a regular training regimen. Even coach Mike Smith has taken note, saying Turner may be in the best shape of his career. And the coach realizes he can't work Turner into the ground anymore.
Said Smith: "He was like the competitor that you want all of your players to be; he was in my ear saying, 'I'm ready. I want to get back out there.' You love that, but maybe sometimes you have to step back. That was a good learning experience for me as a head coach."
Fantasy owners are sure to take notice.