By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Nick Fairley was working out in hot, humid Houston when he got the call that the Detroit Lions would not be picking up his fifth-year option, a move that sends him to free agency after this season.
For now, Fairley is staying mum on whether he is exciting about testing the market.
“I’m going to wait on that,” Fairley said Tuesday. “I’m not going to answer that one. Just got to wait and see.”
In the meantime, Fairley has made some offseason changes that should help him be more effective this season.
He weighed as much as 320 pounds in 2013, he said, and now he weighs between 290 to 295. He said he lost the weight mostly because he committed to trading in the likes of Burger King and McDonald’s for healthier fare like baked chicken and grilled fish – and he now frequents Subway.
Fairley had been eating fast food three times a week, he said, with pizza and such in the mix as well.
“I had to cut it out,” Fairley said. “Really, I didn’t feel comfortable with myself. My body was getting tired, so I just felt like if I got down to a lighter weight, I’d be leaner, meaner, ready to go.”
Fairley gained the weight last year, but once he saw the way he played, he realized the extra bulk needed to go. He said he had been planning to slim down even before the Lions informed him they were not picking up his option.
Fairley also had surgery for sleep apnea this offseason, a procedure that makes it easier for him to breathe when he sleeps and thus allows him to sleep better.
“It’s been suggested to me for now about a year and a half,” Fairley said. “I just was putting it on the back burner until I talked to a couple of guys that actually had the surgery, so they said things went well for them, and so I looked into myself, and me and my girlfriend, my mom, we sat down and talked about it, and said, ‘All right. Let’s give it a try.'”
Fairley has a reputation as an inconsistent player whose flashes of brilliance are mitigated by mediocrity in other moments. He will be looking to produce on a more regular basis in 2014, and it seems that the offseason changes Fairley has made so far – eating better, sleeping better – can only help.
“He looks good,” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “The key will be when he leaves here and then when he comes back in camp. If he’s still in that great shape with his weight down, that’s going to be great for us.”