<
>

Could boxing save Eric Fisher's career?

Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher showed during the offseason he will fight to save his career. And that should be interpreted literally.

Fisher turned to boxing near his offseason home of Rochester, Michigan, to help him improve his football skills. Fisher is still attempting to prove he’s worthy of being the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, which he was in 2013.

“Got into boxing huge,’’ Fisher said this week. “I think that has really helped my body development. I’ve been working on my punch a lot.

“I’ve really never boxed before, but I know my punch is one of the things I really needed to develop this offseason. And I knew going into the offseason that it was something I wanted to do and get into. I couldn’t believe the workout you can get from boxing, the hand work and the hand quickness. I really think that brought me a long way. I’ve been keeping it going here in KC. We have a couple heavy bags out there on the turf field. I brought my gloves back with me and am sticking at it.”

The Chiefs have a lot invested in an improved Fisher. Their protection of quarterback Alex Smith was frequently shaky last season, and Fisher’s inconsistent play was often a reason.

Fisher said he believes boxing could help make that happen.

“It’s full-body movement, coordination,’’ he said. “I couldn’t believe when I started it, it kind of felt awkward, something I had never done before. But by the end it felt so smooth. My hand speed probably doubled. I really did enjoy it and am just trying to keep up with it back here also."

Fisher needed an offseason in which he could build his body. He arrived in the NFL not strong enough to handle bigger, more physical opponents consistently.

He couldn’t work on that to his satisfaction or that of the Chiefs last year. He had offseason surgery in 2014 to repair a balky shoulder.

“I weighed in [Tuesday] morning at 314 [pounds],’’ Fisher said. “Honestly, I cut like 20, 30 pounds of body fat. I’m feeling really good. I think I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in in my life, especially at that weight. Last year, not being able to work out and do the things I wanted to do for six months. It probably wasn’t the best weight I put on last year. I did get up there into the teens, but this year I’m feeling really good. My body is feeling good, mind is feeling good, and I am ready to go.”