Posted on June 12, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Seattle Seahawks running backs Eddie Lacy and Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Dontari Poe are in the news these days but not for doing anything bad. The attention is all about some money both players are about to earn and could earn in the near future.
That is if they can lose a little weight and keep it off.
The duo will have to weigh in with their respective teams this week. If they make a target weight, they will receive a bonus. Lacy, who has struggled with his weight since entering the league, can make up to $385,000 if he makes all of his weight checks:
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- 255 lbs. in May.
- 250 lbs. in June (which he made) and August.
- 240 lbs. during the season (September, October, November, and December). Some news outlets have the requirement to be 245 lbs.
Running backs are not typically the guys who have weight loss incentives. Guys like Poe–who was listed at 346 lbs–last season are.
Poe’s incentive is a little more lucrative than Lacy’s. If the scale says, he weighs 340 lbs. or less when he weighs in this week, he gets $125,000. The team will weigh him in again at the start of training camp, when the regular season starts, and in November. Should he come in at 330 lbs. or less he will take home $125,000 each time.
Ask any large person, and they’ll tell you that the act of losing it is not the hard part. It’s figuring out how to keep it off that is difficult. For most, it comes down to not just eating better while dieting but permanently changing your eating habits. You can lose weight by cutting all the junk out, but when you start eating it again, the weight comes back.
But most large people are not like Eddie Lacy and Dontari Poe. They don’t make millions of dollars a year playing a game. They can’t afford world-class personal trainers to help them work off the pounds or nutritionists to help them figure out what to eat, and chefs to prepare it.
Lacy even got help from the creator of the P90X training regimen prior to last season. So yeah—it helps to be a professional athlete when you need to lose weight.
The concept that professional athletes need to be paid more money to stay in shape is laughable. Aren’t they getting paid to play already? To play well don’t they need to stay in shape? You would think so, but weight maintenance clauses have been included in contracts for years.
They certainly are not the strangest things included in contracts. Former NFL quarterback Rick Mirer didn’t have any crazy incentives in his contract but it did include language that tied the life of the contract to the fate of the world (ESPN):
“…survive and remain effective from the date of execution of this contract up to and including the end of the world.”
When it comes down to it, teams want players to come play for them. Players want to get paid. But teams sometimes have to get creative to justify the amount they pay or for salary cap purposes. So, if that means paying a running back to stay in shape or paying a big guy to be big, just not too big—you do it.