Morning Roar: On Nick Fairley's stature

The Lions, no longer waiting to start their season...

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- He showed up in the spring more svelte than he had been throughout almost his professional career, down between 25 and 30 pounds and Nick Fairley felt much, much better about himself.

And about the game he gets paid to play.

Fairley had been inconsistent since coming to the Detroit Lions as their first round pick in 2011, so much so the team declined his fifth-year option before the season. Then he showed up in camp thinner than he'd been since the NFL combine and despite injuries, appeared ready to go.

At the time, though, new head coach Jim Caldwell gave him a weight range to be in -- and apparently he wasn't quite in it. So Fairley showed up at camp Sunday having put some more weight on, telling the team website he now is 305 pounds.

"We've given him a range. His range wasn't in 295," Caldwell said. "He was far below it at that particular point in time so the concern is a little bit different in that regard as it is as of today. Nevertheless, we give them all kind of a range.

"It's very, very difficult for them to come in pinpointed. We have sort of an area we'd like to see them operate. We do understand that during this time of the year, because of the activity they are going to be involved in, some of them are going to decrease in weight. Often times one or two pounds here or there is not going to make that much of a difference."

Caldwell said Fairley once dropped five pounds in one practice, so they understand how his weight fluctuates. But the main thing is they don't want to see him balloon up to where he was last season, when he was playing at a listed 325 pounds and was not happy with either his body or his production.

In a contract year, he can't afford for that to happen in any facet.

"We’re pleased Nick is moving in the right direction and obviously he’s a guy that he’s been working hard and he’s come through some difficult times this spring in terms of a couple physical ailments," Caldwell said. "I think they’ve helped him in terms of his surgeries and I think he’ll better for it."

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