LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Leonard Floyd smiled on Wednesday when a reporter referenced Chicago’s obsession over his playing weight.
“I pretty know much know it’s going to be asked every time I step up [to] the podium,” Floyd said politely.
Such is life for Floyd. The ninth overall pick in April's NFL draft has been peppered with questions regarding his body type from the moment he was selected.
The reason for the curiosity is valid. Despite being an athletic 6-foot-4 linebacker with elite speed, Floyd is slender. The Chicago Bears list Floyd at 244 pounds on their official offseason roster, but defensive coordinator Vic Fangio conceded in May that the club expects Floyd to play somewhere between 230 and 235 pounds.
Some believe Floyd played lighter than that in college at Georgia.
To bulk up, the Bears put him on a strength and nutritional program that calls for Floyd to eat every couple of hours. Floyd even sets an alarm on his phone to remind him when to grab some food.
It’s early in the process, but Floyd is pleased with the results.
“Oh, it's going pretty well,” Floyd said. “We've still got the game plan going, every other hour, still sticking to the game plan.
So far I've put on quite a few [pounds]. I can't throw you a number out, but I've been improving.”
Floyd said he is allowed to eat anything he wants.
“It doesn’t get old,” Floyd said. “I try to eat the things I like to eat every other hour, so it doesn’t get old.”
Head coach John Fox maintains the topic of Floyd’s playing weight is overrated. The Bears obviously envision Floyd playing a role on defense in 2016, perhaps as a situational pass-rusher to complement veterans Willie Young and Lamarr Houston. Whether Floyd is built to be a four-down player, in his rookie season, is unknown.
“He’s got tremendous athleticism; we talked about that even in the draft process,” Fox said. “He’s very smart, has played a lot of different positions, understands the game, and he has the skill set to do all parts of his job, both in coverage and as far as rush. A lot’s been made of his weight, but it’s been my experience that they get better -- as I think we all do. But I like the way he’s gone about it, and I see a lot of that athleticism we saw on tape.
"He plays pretty strong anyways. A lot of times it’s not all about size, it’s about playing forcefully.”