Less than a week after Courtney Upshaw acknowledged that he weighed 285 pounds, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that the second-year linebacker has to improve his eating habits in order to reach his full potential.
"Courtney's weight issue - [and] he does need to lose some pounds - is that he doesn't eat right," Harbaugh said today following the Ravens' organized team activity. "Courtney eats too much and he doesn't eat all of the right foods. He knows that and that's something he's going to have to get a handle on or he's not going to be the best that he can be."
For the second year in a row, Upshaw reported to offseason workouts and immediately faced questions about his playing shape. He failed the team's initial conditioning test as a rookie last year, but as his first season progressed, he shed some weight and played around 270 pounds.
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However, the momentum didn't carry over through the offseason. At teammate Lardarius Webb's charity softball game on Sunday, a visibly heavier Upshaw told reporters a "personal issue" prevented him from working out the way he wanted to this offseason.
"My offseason has been kind of hectic. I had a personal issue where I had to handle that. Right now, I’m trying to get back into football shape," said Upshaw, a second-round pick in the 2012 draft out of Alabama. "I was back and forth between Alabama and Baltimore, just real personal issues that I had to handle. Just trying to drop a couple pounds and get ready for the season."
Though the Ravens signed Elvis Dumervil this offseason to play outside linebacker opposite Terrell Suggs, team officials still anticipate Uphaw playing a key role on the overhauled defense. But before that happens, he's going to have to get in better shape.
Upshaw has attended all three weeks of organized team activities and Harbaugh said that the linebacker has been working hard.
"My first thought is he's playing good. That's the first thing. He understands the defense exceptionally well. He's working really hard, but he's aware of [the need to lose weight]," Harbaugh said. "Everybody in our building is involved with it. He'll be in fighting shape, I promise you that.