Slimmer Mason Foster ready for challenge

TAMPA, Fla. – You might be seeing less of Mason Foster right now. But that only means you’ll see more of him during the regular season.

The fourth-year middle linebacker has a different look after losing seven pounds in the offseason.

“I went on a diet, eating a lot of vegetables, a lot of turkey burgers,’’ Foster said. “It was tough at first, but I got used to and it’s paid off.’’

Foster said he now weighs 235 pounds, and that’s no accident. The coaching staff told Foster to slim down.

“We acknowledged that as a football team we needed to lose some weight,’’ coach Lovie Smith said. “Guys did that. We want strong linebackers who can run. I just think weight is one of the most overrated things there is. Strength isn’t, weight is. The lighter we are, the quicker and faster we’ll be.’’

The Bucs need Foster to be quicker. Although he still is playing middle linebacker, the duties of that position are different in Smith’s defense. Foster will be asked to drop into pass coverage more often and that’s why the coaching staff wanted him to slim down.

“I feel a lot quicker, a lot lighter on my feet,’’ Foster said. “I feel better all around. Now that I’m eating right I just feel a lot better.’’