View Full Version : Chiefs Babb:Losing weight has helped Chiefs’ Dorsey become more effective

Tribal Warfare
10-17-2009, 10:40 PM
Losing weight has helped Chiefs’ Dorsey become more effective (http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/1514291.html)
The Kansas City Star

Glenn Dorsey is at a strange place, the crossroads of being ashamed of where he’s been but proud he made it back. The Chiefs defensive end sits in the team’s locker room, remembering the careless times that seemed so innocent — and the hard time he did as punishment.

Beads of sweat are still fresh on his forehead after his latest weightlifting session. He is as fit as he’s been in years, a trim 298 pounds. Somehow, he’s done it. He worked himself into shape after Chiefs coach Todd Haley thought it would be impossible. Dorsey has adjusted to a position that his body type, experience and skills didn’t seem to match. He looks powerful, quick and dominant — if only occasionally — for a team that, months ago, thought his weaknesses might overcome his strengths.

Dorsey has started each of the Chiefs’ five games in 2009. Haley says the second-year defender has improved in each of them. For the first time since Kansas City drafted Dorsey last year with the fifth overall pick, he is showing signs that his potential, once shadowed by sloppy play and bad habits, might soon be within his reach.

“I want to be a great player, man,” he says. “That’s what people don’t understand.”

Dorsey is embarrassed at this next part, but he is no longer willing to deny it: He gained so much weight after his rookie season that it put his future with the Chiefs — and maybe his career — in jeopardy.

Dorsey is 24 years old and 6 feet 1. He arrived at the team’s offseason conditioning program in March and weighed a staggering 348 pounds. Haley gave Dorsey an edict: Lose 50 pounds within a few months, or don’t come to Arrowhead Stadium looking to play.

“That,” nose tackle Tank Tyler says, “would scare the (stuff) out of me.”

Instead, Dorsey got to it. What were his choices? He said it’s his job to do what his coach tells him, unsettling as it sounds. But his weight gain was so overwhelming that his body revolted. A player once deemed the NFL’s next great defender was, in just one year, eating himself out of the NFL.

“It’s been a long road for him,” Haley says.

That road started last April. The Chiefs made Dorsey the centerpiece of what was to be a pivotal draft. He had been a superstar at LSU and was all but certain to bring that dominance to the NFL. A month later, that road came to an interesting intersection, where so many paths converged — youthful indulgence, a bottomless bank account, and the validation that one thing couldn’t be taken from him: He had reached the NFL.

It was May 2008. Dorsey was giving The Star a two-day tour of Gonzales, La., his hometown. Jambalaya is big in Louisiana, and the center of the andouille universe is Gonzales. Dorsey wanted to stop. There was a jambalaya stand on the side of a busy highway. They pack pounds of the stuff into Styrofoam trays. It wasn’t long before Dorsey was scraping the bottom with a plastic fork, talking about another place down the road. A seafood shack. He had crawfish paddling through his mind. Dorsey drove there and ordered five pounds, twisting off the tails and just ravaging those little bugs.

It’s not easy for a man with no known boundaries to find satisfaction, but Glenn Dorsey found it that afternoon. He sat back in that roadside seafood shack and exhaled. He’d have to play football soon, but there was still time to soak in the excitement of being 22, rich and being on the front end of certain greatness.

He would make it in the NFL. For now, he might as well enjoy life. Success would come.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Dorsey says, and he knows that now, after the last 12 months forced upon him a dose of reality. “I don’t care where you played your college football at. There’s nothing like the NFL.”

The Chiefs wanted Dorsey to play defensive tackle last season. His playing weight then was 320 pounds. Dorsey’s rookie year was less than memorable, and so was the Chiefs’ defense. Coordinator Gunther Cunningham left after the season, and head coach Herm Edwards was fired.

Haley took over, and he was talking about moving to the 3-4 defense. Dorsey didn’t seem to fit. He wasn’t the stout cinder block to play nose tackle, and he wasn’t the towering and quick player to hold down an end spot. But end is where the Chiefs saw him. He’d need a kind of quickness, conditioning and motor that had been untapped in Dorsey’s past.

“He’s not necessarily the dimensions that you think of,” Haley says now, “when you think of a defensive lineman.”

So Dorsey went home after that rookie year, still undisturbed by consequences or reality, and started eating. His family is full of generous cooks, and Dorsey joked after being drafted last year that the taste of the family meals is overshadowed only by the bounty.

“I was working out and everything, you know,” he says of the offseason. “I was just eating well.”

Dorsey returned to Kansas City in the spring, having gained nearly 30 pounds in three months. He wasn’t the only player with LSU ties to report to the team’s offseason conditioning program in worrisome shape. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs’ top draft pick the year before they picked Dorsey, also had packed on an extra 30 pounds. Bowe plays a position that can be affected by a swing of three pounds, and he had gained 10 times that amount.

That both players went to LSU and came from meager backgrounds was a concern for the Chiefs. Was there a troubling trend with LSU players? Had its players been motivated to be outstanding in college because they wanted to reach the NFL? Had they, upon being drafted and signed to a long-term contract, coasted from season to season or game to game? The Chiefs drafted yet another LSU player in this year’s first round, but the team hopes it imparted meaningful habits early enough to Tyson Jackson that this year’s No. 3 overall pick doesn’t endure similar offseason backslides.

Bowe and Dorsey became the poster boys for Haley’s rigorous — and well-publicized — conditioning program. Bowe lost the weight quickly, but Dorsey had more to lose and more problems to contend with. When the Chiefs ordered him to run, the work became painful and unproductive. His bones couldn’t comfortably handle the extra movement and the stress the extra weight put on his frame. Running aggravated an old shin injury, and that created a cycle that cast doubt over Dorsey’s future. If he couldn’t run, how could he get in shape? If he couldn’t get in shape, how could he ever run well enough to play?

“It sucks,” Dorsey says. “That’s not where you want to be. It ain’t no fun. I felt like I wasn’t really accomplishing nothing.

“It was a lot of weight that they asked me to lose, considering what I played at last year. I knew it was going to be for the better. I just had to actually go out there and put in the work to do it. … I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”

Four months after Dorsey reported to the conditioning program, he still had work to do. Haley forced players to pass a conditioning test before they could participate in training-camp practices, and Dorsey failed. He wasn’t the only player to fail, but he was the last one to pass. Day after humiliating day, Dorsey — whom the Chiefs pay during the regular season, doing the math one way, a guaranteed average of no less than $38,000 per day — worked on a stationary bike, burning calories and hours while his teammates played football. He pushed heavy pieces of equipment close enough to a line of fans that he could hear their taunts. He lay on his back and pulled a blocking bag with a chain, trying to lose enough weight that his body wasn’t shocked when he tried to run.

Dorsey also had to give up the foods that got him in this ordeal. He was asked this week to name his favorite dish. Under normal circumstances, he says, it might be crawfish. But …

“Right now?” he says without satisfaction. “Baked fish.”

Dorsey wishes he could say that his life eased after training camp, but he knows that that never will be his fate. Top-five picks don’t have it easy, especially when they have yet to justify the draft spot and the money that slot commands. Dorsey was mentioned this week in trade rumors, and until he becomes known for more than his food preference, his exercise regimen and all the things he has not done, his future in Kansas City will remain uncertain.

But there is hope, Haley says. It showed the coach something that Dorsey defied expectations and lost those 50 pounds. Since then, Dorsey has shown enough improvement that the Chiefs not only aren’t going to give up on him yet, but for the first time they’re seeing glimpses of what the team saw when it drafted him last year.

“The guy obviously has skill to play in the NFL,” Haley says, “or he wouldn’t have been taken where he was taken. That skill is starting to show itself.

“Two out of the last three weeks, he’s been more like what you’d envisioned him being.”

Haley called Dorsey’s game against Dallas — the big man had four solo tackles and nearly sacked Tony Romo for a safety — the best of his career. Now, Haley says, Dorsey has to pass perhaps his biggest test yet: show that he can keep improving. Haley says today’s game at Washington is critical for the young lineman.

Dorsey admits that he’s still adjusting to playing defensive end. He says the pace and time demands are things he’s never been faced with. All the Chiefs can do now is wait and see if he continues to pass his tests. When it comes to Dorsey, that has occasionally been a dangerous proposition. Kansas City needs him to prove his reputation wrong.

Dorsey says he’s up for it.

“I ain’t never going to doubt myself. Never,” he says. “People are always going to have that opinion and what they think about things, and I can’t control that. I talked to guys before I got here, and they told me: ‘When it gets hard, you’ve got to keep on pushing. You best believe in yourself because nobody else will.’

“I’m going to control it better this year. I’ve got to.”

•WHEN: Noon today

10-17-2009, 11:29 PM

There were some issues wrt his weight and work ethic as an underclassman at LSU, but that makes it sound really, really bad.

10-17-2009, 11:33 PM
Well if Haley doesn't pan out as a coach, he could give Jenny Craig a run for her money.

I like how Dorsey has responded.

Easy 6
10-17-2009, 11:49 PM
This was by far the most informative & interesting piece i can remember reading from Babb.

'Hamas' Jenkins
10-17-2009, 11:50 PM
Todd Haley, for his in game warts, must be sincerely commended for this.

Babb also does the unthinkable and writes a great article. Thumbs up.

If you look at Dorsey's rookie picture, and compare it to him at his pro day, they look like two totally different guys. Dorey at the pro day looked like a greasy fast African monstah. Hell, his head gained a beef shank's amount of fat in between then and his rookie photo.

10-18-2009, 12:14 AM
I didn't know Dorsey was from Gonzales. I spent a week there and searched high and low for decent food. It was all awful (except, coincidentally, for some baked fish I had at a hotel restaurant). I shoulda called his ass up.

I probably saw him when I was down there. We were trying to fly out of Baton Rouge, and the fucking airport SHUT DOWN when they came through. They fucking played the fight song and everybody came into the hallway and started cheering and shit. The other guys I was there with were at the bar. I tried to get a beer and the bitch refused to serve me because the LSU football team was in the building.

Weird fucking place dude.

10-18-2009, 02:29 AM
Has Dorseys leg healed up completely? That was the one concern I had when we drafted him.

10-18-2009, 02:42 AM
well come on at 348 he could have played nose tackle

10-18-2009, 05:23 AM
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs’ top draft pick the year before they picked Dorsey, also had packed on an extra 30 pounds.

Okay, a method to the madness becomes clearer. Though closed minds will refuse to see.

10-18-2009, 05:54 AM
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs’ top draft pick the year before they picked Dorsey, also had packed on an extra 30 pounds.

Okay, a method to the madness becomes clearer. Though closed minds will refuse to see.

Yeah, that is the first time I have heard a number, when it comes to Bowe's weight. 30 is a lot, for that age, he must have really been loading up on the chow.

10-18-2009, 05:57 AM
Yeah, that is the first time I have heard a number, when it comes to Bowe's weight. 30 is a lot, for that age, he must have really been loading up on the chow.No kidding. And for a WR, wow.

the Talking Can
10-18-2009, 06:59 AM
Good job by Haley to whip his ass into shape.

I hope he didn't hurt his feelings though. People making $38,000 a day are very sensitive per the planet.

10-18-2009, 07:09 AM
Has Dorseys leg healed up completely? That was the one concern I had when we drafted him.

Don't know. But he has been playing much better recently, and I have seen some improvement out of him.

So, maybe it is safe to say that it may be healed up. Hopefully today's game will give us more answers than questions.

10-18-2009, 07:15 AM
All I know is that last year when KC drafted Dorsey (and even this season after drafting Jackson), there was a chorus of posters saying, rightly, that it takes 1,2 or even 3 seasons for a defensive lineman to begin to show the type of dominance they displayed at the college level.

Where is that patience with both those players now? Dorsey, obviously, was put behind the 8-ball this spring. He was:

--50 lbs overweight
--moving to a new position
--already not the 'typical' physical dimensions for a 3-4 DE.

The fact that he is he is playing decent football 6 games into the season says tons about his determination and talent and the effectiveness of Haley's approach with him.

BTW I'm not concerned if he 'fits' the mold. There have been a lot of players in the history of the league that don't fit the image of the position that they play who still perform well.

10-18-2009, 07:17 AM
No kidding. And for a WR, wow.

David Boston v2.0

Red Dawg
10-18-2009, 08:55 AM
well come on at 348 he could have played nose tackle

Not at 6'1". That's at fat blob at that hieght.

Bowe was 30 over? No wonder he in the dawg house.

Red Dawg
10-18-2009, 08:59 AM
Babb must has had someone write this article for him. It's too good and full of inside knowledge.

10-18-2009, 09:38 AM
Babb must has had someone write this article for him. It's too good and full of inside knowledge.

Funny thing is, Babb posts a lot of good information on his Twitter account. He's a lot better with Twitter than any other sports columnist I've read. Just needs to find a way to turn his observations into columns more consistently.

10-18-2009, 09:57 AM
I remember that article in The Star. The guy was driving around in his white Hummer eating his way through LA.

Hammock Parties
10-18-2009, 10:09 AM
Wonder how much all of these guys getting fat has to do with Herm.