Michael Turner finally admitting the obvious: He was fat

A slimmer Michael Turner helps Matt Ryan and the Falcons (Curtis Compton/AJC)

A slimmer Michael Turner helps Matt Ryan (Curtis Compton/AJC).

Michael Turner has been just like one of us when it comes to weight gain. He denies it.

He denied throughout last season that he was a step slower — before his ankle injury — because he was out of shape. Coaches and team officials stayed mum on the subject. His fans thought the media (like me) was being too hard on him. Then this offseason, Turner started to concede there might have been a problem. In a Q-and-A with our Darryl Ledbetter, he said: “I’m still the same [weight], it just looks different. I just moved it around a little bit to all the right places.”

Yes, moved it around. Who among us haven’t been trying to “move around” 10 pounds for years? Does insurance cover “move it around” surgery?

But here’s the good news: The more interviews Turner does, the closer he comes to actually saying, “I was a porkpie.”

He just flogged himself, relatively speaking, in a story with SI.com’s Jim Trotter. The meat of the story (so to speak):

“If you go back and look at some pictures of me from last year at this time, I probably looked big — a lot bigger than normal. I was heavy, too heavy. It was hard for me to overcome.”

Turner didn’t need the photos to know he was well past the 250 pounds that appeared next to his name on the roster. He knew things had changed when he struggled to pull his practice jersey over his midsection. It wasn’t as bad as a woman falling on her back and wiggling her way into a pair of jeans that are two sizes too small, but it was close.

The extra weight wasn’t the primary reason Turner ran for only 871 yards last season — a high ankle sprain was the leading culprit. It sidelined him for five games and parts of two others. Still Turner believes the added weight didn’t help him, which is why he reported for offseason workouts this year at a legitimate 250.

I’ve been high on the Falcons going into next season, Turner is the biggest reason why, even more than the improved defense and the expected bounce-back year by quarterback Matt Ryan. Remember, two years ago, when Turner finished second in the league in rushing with 1,699 yards and the Falcons went 11-5, Ryan was a rookie and the defense was a wreck.

A running game helps everybody.

In this case, so does confession.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

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97 comments Add your comment

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

June 23rd, 2010
10:19 am

BigCaliDawg

June 23rd, 2010
10:20 am

Hope he keeps it up.

I thought you knew……

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

June 23rd, 2010
10:21 am

turner lost the weight or turned it to muscle but can norwood lose the injury bug ?

lanier

June 23rd, 2010
10:25 am

Hope is stays effective and healthy cause he is all they got.

NC Braves Fan

June 23rd, 2010
10:30 am

Turner to Matt Ryan: “Does this practice jersey make me look fat?”

Matt Ryan: “Umm, errr, uhhhh, not at all. Hey, did you ever find that Muu-Muu Gonzo and I put in your locker?”

Turner: “The one hanging up, or under the box of Twinkies?”

Ryan: “Gotta go!”

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: [...]

gdawginkalamazoo

June 23rd, 2010
10:38 am

According to the Government’s BMI chart he was obese.

482FF

June 23rd, 2010
10:42 am

All signs point to this being a great year for the Falcons!!!! Even with Slim Jim running the rock. LOL!

Mr. Phil

June 23rd, 2010
10:52 am

“Moved it around” Rofl

That is classic. Absolutely classic.

MT should just stick to “I am in good health this year” and leave it to that. Otherwise, he is gonna get wrapped up in words rather than tackles.

Here’s to a banner year for the Burner. Hilarious!

Portly

June 23rd, 2010
11:05 am

Matt Ryan needs to grow a set this year!!

Paddy

June 23rd, 2010
11:07 am

gdawginkalamazoo….90% of the players in the NFL would be obese with that BMI chart. Doctors don’t use it any longer, as it is meaningless. But MT was overweight nevertheless.

Jeff Schultz

June 23rd, 2010
11:10 am

Mr. Phil — ROFL sums it up. It is funny the explanations/rationalizations we all come up with.

The Grinch

June 23rd, 2010
11:11 am

I hope that’s the real reason he was less effective and not that he’d been overused the previous season. If it is indeed primarily about weight, this is very good news. If Harry Douglas returns to form and Micheal Jenkins realizes he needs to try harder, we should be in good shape (pardon the pun).

Jeff Schultz

June 23rd, 2010
11:11 am

Portly — You think Ryan lacks courage?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajc sports editor, How I C It Sports. How I C It Sports said: Wow! –> RT @ajcsportseditor: From @JeffSchultzAJC… Falcons RB Michael Turner admits: I was fat http://bit.ly/afpSgL [...]

Jenny Craig

June 23rd, 2010
11:15 am

Soooooo what is Turner’s current weight..or from mini-camp? Someone in Flowery Branch knows!

I guess it’s a secret and all we can know is “it’s down from last year”. So is there an official weigh in reported to the league and printed on roster at season beginning?

Steve

June 23rd, 2010
11:21 am

Jeff, good article. Random: See the Marlins fired Freddy G? No doubt in my mind now he is the next Braves manager.

JSS

June 23rd, 2010
11:23 am

Reality…
As Turner, Snelling, and Norwood on the offensive side as the clogs go; then as interior D-line goes, and finally how the the receiving corps goes will determine their season… Shut down corners get exposed when the middle is soft (welcome Dunta)… Matt Ryan, just turn left or turn right, hand the RB the ball, then get out of the way…

Pat

June 23rd, 2010
11:26 am

Turner needs to shut up and make up for is crap season. This guy is good when he wants to be but he is getting paid WAY TOO MUCH to act like a fat Elvis.

suwaneefalcon

June 23rd, 2010
11:29 am

Whomever thinks Ryan lacks courage has no idea what they are talking about. Ryan is a true leader and I have never met or heard of a leader that lacks courage. Turner will bounce back big this year as well Matt Ryan will have a big year.

GO FALCONS!

Matt the Brave

June 23rd, 2010
11:37 am

Kalamazoo, the GOVERNMENT would say that the Olsen Twins were obese on their chart. BMI never takes into account 1) frame size, 2) male or female, and 3) what their job is. I’m not saying that Turner wasn’t fat, but I’ve seen soldiers with 2% body fat who were ‘obese’ according to the BMI chart.

.

June 23rd, 2010
11:41 am

Fire Paul Bewitt…………..

Herschel Talker

June 23rd, 2010
11:57 am

Portly needs to grow a brain this year.

Fire Kenshin Kawakami!

FUZZUP

June 23rd, 2010
11:58 am

Matt "Choke" Ryan

June 23rd, 2010
12:02 pm

Why should he stay in shape and give your all, when you put up 1,699 yards in your 1st full season, gets over used carry the ball 350 times and all you hear is the CHOKE was the reason for the team’s turn around.

Turner proved one thing – He is the most important player on the team.

Without a healthy and productive turner, the Falcons are just mediocre. CHOKE is a game manager at best. If he was anything resembling “Peyton Like” he would have put the team on his back, just as Peyton has done.

CHOKE should be paying for a personal trainer for Turner, because if Turner is permanently damaged, the Falcons will once again saying “Wait till next year” – AGAIN!

dtanner

June 23rd, 2010
12:09 pm

happens to a lot of these sport stars, get the big contract then get fat and lazy,see andrew jones

Mimeograph

June 23rd, 2010
12:09 pm

Dear World,
I didn’t all of a sudden become a hockey fan in 1980 and I’m not going to become a soccer fan now, so leave me alone. The rest of y’all have fun. I’ve got the Braves to follow.
Hugs and kisses,
Mimeograph

Matt Ryan

June 23rd, 2010
12:11 pm

I am mad about how you people talk about me. I think I will wear Black Face for the games this year. Would that make you fans happy? I only choke when I swallow pills thank you very much.

The Producer

June 23rd, 2010
12:12 pm

He was just big bone-ded……

GT BABY

June 23rd, 2010
12:14 pm

turner is a beast, get over it UGAY fans! Y’all rip on everyone thats not hershy walker.

Pi$$onaDawg

June 23rd, 2010
12:14 pm

Mimeograph: following baseball over soccer. Watching Paint Dry meet Watching Steel Oxidize.

Matt "Choke" Ryan

June 23rd, 2010
12:21 pm

dtanner

June 23rd, 2010
12:09 pm
happens to a lot of these sport stars, get the big contract then get fat and lazy,see andrew jones

——————————————————-

1st it’s Andruw not Andrew.

2nd he won 10 “STRAIGHT” gold gloves and had 9 straight years of 20 or more homeruns and 7 straight years of 90 or more runs batted in and after his last contract he put up 50 and 42 homerun seasons, with back to back 130 runs batted in seasons.

That is not sitting on a contract. How many gold gloves and 50 homerun seasons does Chipper have?

JSS

June 23rd, 2010
12:22 pm

@ Matt Ryan…
Why play that card? I don’t put Ryan on a pedestal simply because he throws INT’s in abundance whenever he sees a cover 2 defense, no more, no less! He is supposedly a great studier of tendencies and gae film; but he’s never corrected that… He’s not this team’s source of strength. A healthy and fit Turner, Snelling, and Norwood (I know that is a oxymoron) is the key to all things successful when the Falcons are competitive. The games show it, the stats show it…

Great Falconi

June 23rd, 2010
12:23 pm

Burner was overused in 2008, took a lot of time off during the offseason, got fat, showed the effects of both, got injured due to bad karma from all the ‘08 carries and January-June Twinkies, and, if we’re lucky, seems to have learned a lesson.

JSS

June 23rd, 2010
12:23 pm

“gae = game”

Terrell

June 23rd, 2010
12:26 pm

Matt “Choke” Ryan,

Shut up. Peyton puts the team on his back, because, like Marino, this is how he wants to play. He wants to throw the ball every play. It doesn’t hurt that he has over 12 years in the league. As a matter of fact in his first 2 seasons with the Colts he threw a bunch more interceptions and his teams won fewer games. This was having Marshall Faulk as his RB his first season and Edge his 2nd. He was a .500 QB after his first 2 season (16-17) as compared to Ryan (20-11) including playoffs

Terrell

June 23rd, 2010
12:27 pm

Pardon my error if you don’t include the playoffs Peyton was .500

Hollywould

June 23rd, 2010
12:27 pm

Stat boy to the rescue. Once again I learn more about everyone from stat boy. Choke boy, I saw your blog on PFT. Matt Ryan consumes you right?

Dr. Warren

June 23rd, 2010
12:30 pm

Jeff–
We aren’t professional athletes so comparing us to Turner is letting him off super-easy. Why has no one asked the obvious? Why does a multi-multi-million dollar athlete whose only off-season job is to take care of his body let himself get so overweight? He let his teammates, Blank, and the long-suffering fans down big-time–and I don’t think it’s overstating it to say his self-satisfaction after a good year and his lack of self-control cost us a playoff birth. The great ones don’t do that, plain and simple.

Terrell

June 23rd, 2010
12:32 pm

JSS,

What are you talking about. He has been allowed to do more than most young QBs because he does study game film. I guess you also see how many times he has thrown an int in that Cover 2 you are referring too and he’s about to get hammered. When he is allowed enough time he beats that coverage, but it’s hard to beat it when the ball is snapped and you get hit before you begin your drop.

Mimeograph

June 23rd, 2010
12:33 pm

Has Techman stopped writing love notes about Kenshin Kawakami yet? It’s been a few days.

Hollywould

June 23rd, 2010
12:36 pm

Jeff, Don’t get me wrong on this as I do like Turner and understand he is our feature back but I have no problem with Snelling getting 15 carries a game. That guy is a beast. With Turner getting in shape now and at the moment Norwood is healthy our running back situation is in solid hands.

The Sham

June 23rd, 2010
12:37 pm

@ Schultz – “I was a porkpie” – real quote or not, that is funny!
@Great Falconi – you stole my post… but with more accurate spelling than I usually bost. Great points!
@JSS – I think you were right the first time, but your fruedian slip meant to say “gay” not “gae”. JK Ice Man, we all know your mowing them down ;)
@GT BABY – watch what you say or Hershy will drag your diaper wearing butt in to the octagon and make you scream for your mommy!
@ THE SHAM – just because the BMI is being discredited in hear, doesn’t mean you can eat that banana split blizzard for lunch… oh what the heck… nom nom nom nom!!!!!

Terrell

June 23rd, 2010
12:38 pm

Dr. Warren,
He’s still human. I’m pretty sure you don’t do everything right, and I’m pretty sure, now you can correct me if I’m wrong, that when you get a chance to relax you really do want to relax and enjoy yourself, and sometimes that can a good thing and other times it can be bad. Is he a professional athlete? Yes, are you? No, so you wouldn’t possibly imagine the wear and tear they have, and that makes it tougher to get back to doing the things you know to do. I’m pretty sure every person who works or is an athlete have had lulls and get lazy. This would be a concern if he wasn’t trying to get better.

X'sandO's

June 23rd, 2010
12:39 pm

Until the Falcons can put up 40+ points per game they will never stand a chance against teams like SAINTS,COLTS. Currently, Falcons have no legitimate deep threat to keep defenses honest…nor do they have the greatest offensive line…the O-line is much better now than the O-line Vick had but they still need work.. I still think just by watching film they don’t always create the necessary holes for any of the tailbacks to exploit…I honestly believe Norwood should get more playing time…all he needs is one hole and he’s GONE..not too many in the league that can catch him..Defensively…I still think we need a little more help on the secondary..I’m pleased with the offseason moves to address that…but if he gets injured…then what???…..On paper I’m ok with the offseason moves made in addition to the picks from the draft…I just hope it translates into W’s on the field….just a football coach with my 2 cents from my experience as a player and a coach….

Leopold Stotts

June 23rd, 2010
12:43 pm

I hope Justin Blalock is paying attention.

rekingball

June 23rd, 2010
12:45 pm

Informer on the blog.

Anton Chigurh

June 23rd, 2010
12:46 pm

I think our secondary is DEEP with Dunta, Williams coming back and the good Chris and Grimes were strong at the end of the season. Coleman, DeCoud, Moore. Pretty good group.

chem

June 23rd, 2010
12:54 pm

@ “Choke”

Andruw Jones was a failure. He was the ultimate 5 tool player as a prospect, and he survived through his twenties on pure talent alone. By age 31, he was exposed and almost out of baseball. If he spent just one offseason training he would have lost 20 lbs. He could have had a hall of fame career.

btw, good article schultz. I stay in shape and no one pays me to do so. I couldn’t imagine not training hard while getting paid $millions$ to be an “athlete”.

All I'm Saying...

June 23rd, 2010
1:02 pm

Good post, Schultz, and Turner would not be the first to have a great season and then rest on his laurels, forgetting what put him in the position to be so successful. Confession is good for the soul so its great to read that the Burner now fully acknowledges a contributing factor to his struggles last season.

On the other hand, what also must be acknowledged is that opposing defenses saw what Turner did two years ago and keyed on him in 2009 daring Ryan to beat them with the pass.

So, let’s also realize that Turner being overweight is not the sole reason Ryan struggled last year. Remember, Matt had another year under his belt of knowing the offense and we added a weapon, Tony G., to Matt’s arsenal.

In 2010, I expect Ryan to rebound, Turner to return to form, our defensive to be better due to the return from injury of a couple of key components on the d-line, and the secondary upgrade to be significant with the signing of Dunta relegating Grimes to nickel situations only (to name one).

LET’S GO FALCONS!