ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Eric Ebron couldn’t stop sweating. His body shook. The new workout he started this offseason was affecting him -- for good and bad. The good: It was making a difference. The bad: It was leaving him fatigued and ready to be done for the day.
This was Ebron’s initial experience into the world of Pilates, an exercise regimen created to improve flexibility, posture and strength, including in the core. He did this in suburban Detroit and also worked with a private instructor.
He started doing “everything” with it, including the Cadillac machine, which looks somewhat like an indoor jungle gym.
“I do Pilates now,” Ebron said. “Don’t tell anybody. But yeah, I just do a lot of things that can help my body, my core, my muscles and everything just stay strong and as flexible as I can be for this rough and long season.”
Pilates initially was recommended to Ebron by his girlfriend. He started doing it, became hooked and now has made it part of his offseason training after a season in which he dealt with ankle and knee injuries for the majority of the year.
He wouldn’t say how much is body has changed, saying only “yeah, I keep it sexy,” but he looked trimmer than usual when he met with the Detroit media Tuesday.
Ebron knows a healthier body could lead to fewer injuries; the tight end has yet to play 16 games in a season. He knows, too, that this is a big proving ground year for him since the Lions chose to pick up his fifth-year option and have had some preliminary discussions about a contract extension.
For that to happen, Ebron has to prove he’s still getting better and improving after setting career highs in receptions and yards last season. He’s talked about these things with general manager Bob Quinn, and while he didn’t want to get into specifics, Ebron said he knows Quinn is “looking for things from me and hopefully I can just give him what he’s looking for.”
Ebron’s goals aren’t modest. He told ESPN toward the end of last season he wants to break 1,000 yards this year, which would be much more attainable if he is able to play in every game.
“Just stay healthy, man,” Ebron said. “If I can just stay healthy, I believe in my abilities and the things that I can do. If I can just stay healthy, I’ll just prove what I should have proved years ago, and that’s hopefully with health.”
Ebron has long been criticized in Detroit because of where he was drafted -- the No. 10 overall pick in 2014 -- and who was drafted after him, including receiver Odell Beckham Jr., defensive tackle Aaron Donald, offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and linebacker C.J. Mosley. The Lions have had issues at all four of those positions of late.
Ebron played in 13 games as a rookie, catching 25 passes for 248 yards. In 2015, he played in 14 games with 47 receptions for 537 yards. Last year, he had 61 catches for 711 yards. This year, he could be in an even better position as the Lions revamped the tight end position behind him, signing Darren Fells, one of the league’s top blocking tight ends, and drafting Michael Roberts in the fourth round.
Ideally, having those two playing on the line could let Detroit and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter move Ebron to multiple positions on the field in order to take care of mismatches.
“I can’t wait until OTAs to find out exactly, but I think it’ll play a significant role for me to allow me to do the things that I’m best at,” Ebron said. “I hope for it. We hope for it and just go based off what happens in OTAs and what Jim Bob has in store for us.”