Last year, Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw drew the wrath of coach John Harbaugh for reporting to offseason activities overweight and in questionable shape.
But this year, Harbaugh seems much more pleased with the third-year linebacker.
"He looks like he’s in really good shape," Harbaugh said after the Ravens OTA workout on Wednesday. "We’ll start monitoring the weight a little more closely, (but) he’s in the ballpark. It’s not like he’s out of shape, weight-wise. He’s close, no problem getting through practice. He looks good. We’re happy with him.”
Upshaw is listed at 6-foot-2, 272 pounds on the Ravens roster, but last summer was reportedly above 290. He attributed the weight gain in part to being back in his home state of Alabama, away from the Ravens facility and staff, dealing with personal issues.
That led Harbaugh to publicly rebuke him, saying, "Courtney's weight issue ... is that he doesn't eat right. Courtney eats too much, and he doesn't eat all 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 he can be. But he's aware of it."
Upshaw finished last season with 31 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks, playing primarily on run downs and subbing out with Elvis Dumervil on passing downs. Upshaw played 650 snaps last year, slightly more than Dumervil (574), and those two are likely to share time at one outside linebacker spot again, opposite Terrell Suggs.
"“I want to get out there on that field and produce – make some tackles, gets some sacks, whatever it takes to help the team,” Upshaw told the team Web site. “I can’t produce if I’m overweight and tired.”
Although his numbers dropped from his rookie season (60 tackles), Upshaw was frequently praised by Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Dean Pees for doing a lot of the grunt work -- setting the edge, forcing a run inside, shedding a block.
Upshaw did not disclose his weight this week, but he told reporters that he is still looking to shed some more pounds before the season.
For now, though, Harbaugh seems pleased with Upshaw's conditioning, and that's a marked improvement from last summer.