After the Dolphins 2012 season, on the day the team's players left the lockerroom (some for the last time), coaches had a chance to speak with everyone individually. Think of it as an exit interview. Think of it as a counseling session.
And in his one-on-one with multiple coaches, including head coach Joe Philbin, guard John Jerry was told this:
You can be a good player if you apply yourself and get in shape and become more professional about your body as well as your body of work.
And also this:
If you come to the offseason conditioning program sloppy fat and out of shape like last year, you'll be in trouble.
"It’ll be interesting to see," Philbin said. "I know the big thing we said to him when he left is we want to see how much you weigh when you come back for the offseason program."
Pause one moment, please...
Look, NFL players are human. They are people and as such they are imperfect and deal with issues and circumstances. Some are troubled in ways you and I are troubled. Some have bigger problems. Some seem to have it more together than most folks.
And yes, some cannot control how much they eat and allow themselves to get fat.
And yes, some aren't in love with working out and staying in good condition and they find themselves out of shape soon after the offseason begins and no one is monitoring them.
Come on, man!
This is professional football. You're making a ton of money because God blessed you with physical gifts that very few people have.
And you're just going to take that body that was fearfully and wonderfully made and turn it into a food bin? You're just going to have zero discipline and eat anything you want whenever you want in quantities that normal people cannot fathom?
In short, you're going to act more like the Cookie Monster than an NFL player?
That is not professional. That is not acceptable.
(It's acceptable for a tax man to eat a lot and not work out because his thing is numbers and deductions. It's acceptable for a lawyer or judge to get floppy. It's acceptable for a journalist, ahem, because nobody is asking me him to be in great shape at work).
But an NFL player? A professional athlete?
It costs his team. It costs the player.
Jerry's inability to show multiple coaching staffs now that he can be trusted to be in shape is one reason the Dolphins feel they have a question mark at right guard. And that's probably the reason they added Lance Louis recently and still might add another guard in the draft.
The frustrating thing is Jerry can be a good player. When he stays on his feet and, you know, moves them, he is effective. Problem is he's carrying so much weight most of the time that becomes a chore.
"I do think he’s, the one thing he has to do a better job of is staying on his feet better, but he’s athletic enough to play guard," Philbin said. "There’s a lot of pictures of him showing very good quickness and explosiveness off the ball."
The coming offseason conditioning program is a big deal for the Dolphins.
Voluntary offseason workout programs are intended to provide training, teaching and physical conditioning for players.
As per Article 21 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each club’s official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:
Phase One consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
Phase Three consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or "OTAs." No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, and 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permissible.
Article 22 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates that clubs may hold one mandatory minicamp for veteran players. This minicamp must occur during Phase Three of the offseason program. Head coaches hired after the end of the 2012 season are also entitled to conduct an additional voluntary veteran minicamp. That does not apply to the Dolphins this year.
Each club may hold a rookie football development program for a period of seven weeks, which in 2013 may begin on May 13. During this period, no activities may be held on weekends, with the exception of one post-NFL Draft rookie minicamp, which may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the draft. The dates of the post-draft rookie minicamps will be circulated at a later date.
So for the Dolphins the first day of the offseason conditioning program is April 15.
Miami's OTA sessions, as provided by the NFL are May 21-23, May 29-31 and June 3-6. The mandatory veteran minicamp is tentatively scheduled for June 11-13 for the Dolphins.
John Jerry, you're under the microscope.
Make sure you fit under it.