With the lockout, by all appearances, winding down, we’ll soon see which players have kept themselves in shape, and which ones show up to training camp looking like they’ve been on the couch for six months.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis says he’s stayed in great shape. But he also says the time off from organized team activities has been a blessing because he has worked out the way he wants, and he’s feeling more rested than he has heading into training camp in the past.
“It does feel a little weird when you have so much time to yourself at this time of year,” Willis told ESPN.com. “But I won’t lie, either — it has been nice in some ways. I’ve never really had a summer off since I started playing football, and I can feel the difference in my body. I can see that I really needed this.”
Specifically, Willis says he’s been avoiding the kinds of activities that produce wear and tear on his lower body.
“I’ve always been kind of paranoid about my legs [at this time of year] anyway,” Willis said. “That’s why I’ve never liked doing a lot of agility stuff. I always get worried that I might twist something or step on somebody’s foot and tear something. I’d rather get up to speed when I’m [in] camp. It’s never taken me long to do that.”
There’s been plenty of talk that injuries will increase in this year’s training camps, thanks to the lack of an offseason program. But if Willis is right, we should actually see fewer injuries this year, as more players have had more time to give their bodies a break.