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Jalen Carter is in his honeymoon period with the Philadelphia Eagles. So his history that includes tensions with some of his coaches and his driving record are not a thing right now.
But his weight?
That’s a different matter.
“I’ll make sure my condition level is higher,” Carter promised when he spoke to reporters during the team’s recent rookie minicamp.
That’s good because, well, Carter has been battling the issue and sometimes, some NFL scouts believe, it affected his play at the University of Georgia.
You’ll recall Carter was nine pounds heavier at his Pro Day in mid-March than he was about two weeks earlier at the NFL Combine. At 323 pounds, he was unable to finish his drills that fateful day on the Georgia campus.
The Eagles have Carter’s weight at 300 pounds, according to their roster, and he is definitely not there.
Nick Sirianni Addresses Jalen Carter Weight
But coach Nick Sirianni doesn’t think that’s a concern right now.
“None,” Sirianni said.
That’s apparently because the coach that set making weight prominent among rules he outlined for rookies during minicamp, believes being at the right weight is important for the season.
But the season doesn’t start today. Plus, there are reasons many rookies, including Carter, are out of shape.
“These guys have been in hotels. They have been on 30 visits. They have been getting ready for pro days. And they have been getting ready for the Combine,” Sirianni said. “So, to say any of them are in really good football shape and they are ready to play a game tomorrow, I would say that’s inaccurate. None of those guys are.
“Nobody out there is in the shape that they need to be in, but we are working in that direction. He [Carter] looks good. He looked good out there today, and so but like I said, today wasn’t about finding out who was ready conditioning-wise because to be quite frank, none of them are.”
Jalen Carter Has Battled Conditioning Recently
Carter’s weight wouldn’t be an issue except for that Pro Day performance and the fact his play at Georgia was sometimes a roller coaster of great accomplishments followed by a disappearance act.
Those great heights followed by stunning dips made some teams believe Carter was at times out of shape. (It also made some teams consider his motor, but that’s another matter).
That is not something Sirianni is going to abide during the regular season or even when training camp begins. He wants to practice at a certain level of intensity and speed that requires being in good condition.
“I told them straight up, things that I will — we obviously went over our rules, right, our team rules,” Sirianni said. “And one of those team rules is be on time, and another one of those rules is be the weight you’re supposed to be and those are non-negotiable for me, and they know that and we’ll just keep that standard as we go.”
One more thing at play here: How is Carter going to react now that he’s gotten paid, so to speak.
Will Big Eagles Payday Affect Carter?
Carter is the first of the draft’s first-round selections to sign a contract. Last week, he signed a fully guaranteed four-year deal worth $21.8 million.
And there are multiple ways NFL players, especially young ones, often react to getting large sums of guaranteed money. For some, it ignites them to work harder, do more, try harder, so as to prove they’re worth the contract.
But some get comfortable. A sense of entitlement enters the picture and effort and work levels off.
The Eagles will definitely have to gauge which direction Carter goes.
“I sense that he wants to be the best pro he can be…” Sirianni said, “…and I have no doubt in my mind he’ll do whatever he needs to do to be the player he needs to be.”
Honeymoon period, folks.