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Danny Shelton's offseason includes renewed approach, weight loss and go karts

Danny Shelton finished the 2015 season with 36 tackles, ranking second among Browns defensive linemen. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

BEREA, Ohio -- It's been quite an offseason for Danny Shelton, one that has involved go karts, weight loss and paintball with teammates.

It's not easy for a big man to lose weight, but Shelton has lost 30 pounds since February.

The Cleveland Browns' first first-round pick in the 2015 draft, Shelton said his weight ballooned as a difficult rookie season progressed. He didn't say exactly what he weighed in December, but he did say he has reached his goal of 335 pounds -- and that he's lost 30 pounds.

The math is not difficult.

Shelton said he is trying to take advantage of the new start that he and the team has with coach Hue Jackson. He wants to be on the field more than he was a year ago, when he had 48 percent of the defensive snaps at nose tackle.

"I wanted to start the change with myself," he said.

Shelton said the reduced weight is simply a matter of health.

"Just playing at this weight will be better for me as far as being on the field more, getting more playing time, and then for my lifestyle," he said. "Be better on my knees and for my health, really."

Shelton's rookie season was a mixed bag of good and no-so-good games, ones when he played a lot and others when he barely played. He finished the season with 36 tackles, second among defensive linemen, and four for a loss, tied for first among the group.

Expectations are high for a first-round pick, and Shelton at times seemed almost discouraged as a rookie. In his second season, he said he's more focused on the defensive plan and improving as a player, and he has drawn rave reviews from coaches and teammates alike.

"The first thing you notice about Danny is that he's really committed to his weight," defensive lineman Desmond Bryant said.

"Danny can be a unique player for us," defensive coordinator Ray Horton said. "He’s really, really bright, intelligent, very outgoing. He wants to do well. He wants to succeed. He wants to be part of a championship defense. We are going to try to give him every opportunity to do that.

"One of the things I don’t want for Danny is I don’t want him to always have to come off the field. I want him to be able to stay on the field as much as we want him on the field. … He is going to be a big part of our plans."

Shelton admitted the challenge will be maintaining the weight, but he did get to his goal a few weeks ago, well ahead of his targeted timetable of training camp.

"And I did all this before the nutritionist came on staff," he said.

To promote unity, Shelton organized a trip for the defense to a local Swings 'N Things, where players took part in bumper boats, paintball and go kart racing. Yes, Shelton squeezed his frame into a go kart, something that he said surprised even him.

"It was just a time for us to be kids," he said.

Shelton also tries to be in tune with Browns fans. He switched his number from 71 to 55 from his rookie to second season and said he wants to do something for fans who bought his 71 jersey.

After examining options, Shelton decided on a meet-and-greet with people who had the old jersey, where he would sign the jersey for them. Details have yet to be announced, but they will take place in his home state of Washington and in Ohio.

"It's the least I can do, really," he said.