Nick Fairley down to 305 pounds, back in starting lineup

AP

The Lions released their first depth chart since the cut to 53 players on Monday and there was a change at defensive tackle.

Nick Fairley has returned to the first team after being dropped to the second rung during camp in favor of C.J. Mosley. Fairley’s ballooning waistline was given as the reason for the switch, but Fairley has reversed the trend of late. He said being benched “opened my eyes up” and he hired a chef to provide him with a week’s worth of healthier meals that he’s eaten while dropping back down to 305 pounds after getting as high as 320 earlier in camp.

“I feel a whole lot better just by not putting that bad stuff in my body,” Fairley said, via the Detroit Free Press. “You feel the energy, you feel it out there at practice.”

Fairley said he didnt think being heavier compromised his play too much, although he did say it hurt his consistency and it doesn’t seem like a coincidence that Fairley’s play picked up as he got healthier over the course of the preseason. That’s a good development for the Lions defense, which needs a productive Fairley to reach their optimal level of play. If the get that, it will work out well for Fairley too as he can become a free agent after the team declined its fifth-year option on his contract.