clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Steelers Jonathan Dwyer transitions from fat kid to 'grown man'

Despite his feast or famine third season in the NFL which fueled another off-season of weight watching, Jonathan Dwyer has conquered the battle of the bulge and is focused on winning the battle of the backs.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

What's the difference between bacon and eggs? The chicken was just involved, but the pig was totally committed.

Since being drafted in the sixth-round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, most on-lookers have tried to compare running back Jonathan Dwyer to a plump porker. Unfortunately, the organization saw him playing more the role of the chicken from the metaphor.

In 2013, Dwyer has trimmed the fat, committing himself all-in just like the pig. When asked by present members of the media about his off-season training regimen, Dwyer was proud to say he has lost 25-30 pounds, and is now down to 230. He also added he fully expects to trim another 5-10 pounds by the beginning of the regular season. He credits a refined diet, working out two-to-three times a day and incline running for better conditioning.

Granted, Dwyer's conditioning over his first two seasons were well deserving of ridicule. The team drafted him because of his production in spite of his size, but they still expected him to be conditioned for the professional level. He was not as a rookie, and found it difficult to break the active gameday lineup; but he did remain a constant part of the 53-man roster.

Dwyer arrived to his sophomore season in similarly poor condition. He posted a 100 yard effort against the Tennessee Titans, but it wasn't enough to pull himself out of his coach's doghouse. When the team gathered at the end of the year, coach Tomlin made an example of Dwyer in front of his peers, promising to cut him should he show up out-of-shape once again.

He showed up in good enough shape to keep his job in 2012, but still left room for improvement with his conditioning. However, despite public displeasure over his over-emphatic 'tapping out' throughout the year, coach Tomlin ended the year on a completely different note than the year before.

According to Dwyer, Tomlin told him, 'You're a grown man now. You know what you need to do.' Dwyer didn't take his coach's comments as a child being scolded, he took it as an adult receives constructive criticism. By being in better shape for 2012, Dwyer went from inactive fat kid to starter with multiple hundred yard games.

Now in 2013, the team has added rookie Le'Veon Bell and shifty La'Rod Stephens-Howling. Dwyer's battery-mate Isaac Redman has also trimmed some weight of his own, but it didn't take any of those moves for Dwyer to understand he needed to be fully committed if he wanted to continue to be an active NFL running back.

While many speculate Bell will win the battle for the starting running back position, the matured Dwyer knows he has the same opportunity as everyone else. His new slimmer physique stands as evidence of his sincerity when he says, 'I don't want to be average. I want to be great.'

More from Behind the Steel Curtain: