ALLEN PARK, Mich. – A season ago, Corey Fuller felt like he had to eat everything. Already fast -- he originally went to college for track -- he felt like he needed to become bigger to try and complement his speed.
So as he was learning on the field, he was stuffing his face off of it. Then came his season on the practice squad, where he spent the year observing Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, absorbing everything they did from how they trained to how they played.
He needed all of that then so he could spend the offseason working on trying to fix what he did wrong as a rookie who didn’t play. He picked up on the routes, gained experience and, perhaps most importantly, got bigger by actually losing weight.
“I thought I had to be heavier,” Fuller said. “And I was just stuffing my mouth with any and everything. Then, during the season, I started losing a little bit of weight and now I’m eating healthier, eating the right foods.”
Fuller didn’t disclose his new diet, but he said he dropped about 12 pounds from training camp last season, and that he weighs 200 pounds, although he is listed on the official rookie minicamp roster at 196 pounds.
Either way, he believes the lost weight and added size will be the first thing that helps him go from a practice squad afterthought last season to someone perhaps on the 53-man roster come this fall. This won’t be a simple task, as there are a lot of wide receivers with potential that will be in camp starting Tuesday.
Two are locks to be on the roster: Johnson and Golden Tate. The rest is going to be a giant free-for-all for anywhere from three-to-five spots along with Kris Durham, Kevin Ogletree, Jeremy Ross, Ryan Broyles, Naaman Roosevelt, Patrick Edwards and rookie TJ Jones.
That he showed up for rookie minicamp, something he did not need to do, might bode well for him early with the coaching staff. He was able to learn more as he also helped the rookies become acclimated to the NFL.
It clearly impressed at least the head coach.
“It kind of gives him a little bit of a head start in that regard,” Detroit coach Jim Caldwell said. “He was able to grind through it on the weekend and did a nice job. He was also kind of able to pave the way for some of the guys that hadn’t been, he’s been doing it for five weeks now.
“He’s been a good bell cow for us. He set the stage for us in that regard, but he was absolutely outstanding.”
Even though he has a small window into what to expect having been around for five weeks and participating over the weekend, he still isn’t completely sure where he fits into the new offense run by Joe Lombardi yet.
So far, they have just been lining all of the receivers up in various places to have a handle on where the skills of certain players might slide in the best at.
The routes, he said, are somewhat similar but run out of different spots on the field.
So all he really knows as he enters organized team activities this week is one thing: He has a shot.
“I just know I’m competing for that 53 spot,” Fuller said. “And whatever the coaches decide, they decide.”