Stuck at home for the last few month, we’re all guilty of packing on a few pounds from living the quarantine lifestyle. Between the Netflix, constant snacking and general sedentary life style, a little extra blubber hardly seems avoidable.
Except if your name is Shane Richards, apparently.
The Toronto Argonauts offensive lineman and 2019 first overall CFL Draft pick can no longer be identified by his massive girth, having dropped a whopping 75 pounds over the course of the year off through a strict regime of football and boxing training. The dramatic weight loss is purposeful, helping to rectify issues that emerged in his first year as a pro.
The Oklahoma State product reported to his first training camp at 325-pounds, expecting to lose weight over the course of the preseason as he had in college. Pro training camps are much more regulated then their college counterparts and Richards soon found himself in a bind.
“I think that was the first camp that I put on weight,” Richards told Mike Hogan of Argos.ca. “I was caught off guard by that. I was trying to figure out how to drop weight during camp and not be over-exhausted.”
That didn’t work out and Richards suffered a groin injury ahead of the team’s Week 2 game that left him limited for much of the season.
“After I got the injury it went into a deeper pit,” Richards admits. “I was at my heaviest I think when I was leaving at the end of the season, I think I was at 350, give or take.”
In the fast-paced and wide-open CFL, that is well beyond the threshold where most lineman are effective. Richards had already been on the heavy side coming out of college and some around the league questioned why the Argonauts reached on him at number one overall when his mobility was in doubt. The events of 2019 left many of those critics patting themselves on the back, but Richards could soon have them eating their words, something he clearly hasn’t been doing much of.
“His work ethic and dedication to the game lets us know he can become the player we expect him to become,” Argos Director of Canadian Scouting Vince Magri says. “His physicality and his aggression on the field have always stood out. He had it in training camp and in the pre-season, but the injury set things back. We’re looking forward to seeing him in 2021.”
Now standing at a svelte 275-pounds, a weight he hasn’t seen the tenth grade, Richards is in the process of building back up with good weight. He anticipates kicking off the season at roughly 310 pounds, but the foundation underneath is now healthy and sustainable. It’s a life-changing accomplishment for Richards and one the Argos hope turns him into the dominant player they scouted.
If all goes well, he’ll have busted his butt enough to take the ‘draft bust’ label right off the table.