Ravens TE Nick Boyle changed his diet and worked out with a former Steelers star. Now he’s ‘a completely new guy.’ – The Mercury News
The best compliment Nick Boyle might’ve gotten this offseason is that he doesn’t look like Nick Boyle anymore. Or at least not like the Nick Boyle of recent memory.
Said offensive coordinator Greg Roman: “He looks like a completely new guy this year. It’s unbelievable what he’s done, the hard work he’s put in.”
And first-year tight ends coach George Godsey: “You can obviously tell, looking at him, he’s physically different.”
And coach John Harbaugh: “He does look like a new guy.”
The further the Ravens tight end gets from the misery of the past two seasons, the better. Injuries have limited Boyle, 29, to just five games since he underwent what he called “the worst surgery of my life,” a 2020 knee operation that repaired his meniscus, PCL, MCL and fracture damage. A clean-up procedure last summer delayed Boyle’s comeback, and he remained hobbled after returning to action last season.
At the Ravens’ organized team activities, however, his limp is barely noticeable. Any concerns about the November 2020 injury that derailed his career are mostly gone, too. Boyle said Wednesday that he feels “really, really good right now,” and he’s played like it in Owings Mills.
“There’s days where I don’t feel as good, and there’s days where I feel like a million bucks,” he said after Wednesday’s voluntary practice. “And that’s still kind of working through it at this point. But it’s not like anywhere near last year. … I feel so much better and I’m just ready to go. Really excited to be out there and participating.
“That’s the worst thing — you’re in there [the facility], just watching out the window like a little kid. Sitting out there, I’m like, ‘Man, I just want to go out there.’ And to be able to go back out there and feel good while being out there is a blessing.”
The Ravens’ hope is that a lighter Boyle could be a better Boyle, a more available Boyle. When he emerged as the versatile hammer in the Ravens’ record-breaking rushing attack four years ago, he weighed about 280 pounds. Boyle had to be strong enough to scrap with edge rushers on play-action drop-backs and nimble enough to take on linebackers and safeties in space.
With mandatory minicamp less than a week away, Boyle estimated that he weighs about 262 pounds — “but I feel good, and I’m way stronger than I was.” He wanted less stress on his left knee, so he changed his diet. He committed to eating four prepared meals a day, with no room for snacking.
“My wife would cook stuff and I wouldn’t eat it,” he said. “She would hate that. She’d be like, ‘I’m just cooking for our kids now,’ and they’re like 2 [years old and] 1 [year old]. So it was really, I want to say, satisfying to see that work kind of pay off and to continue it to get back on the field the way I want to.”
Little about Boyle’s offseason was conventional. Eager for a “change of scenery,” he reached out to his agent and ended up relocating with his family to Arizona, not far from friend and fellow tight end Mark Andrews’ home. For two months, Boyle worked to rehabilitate “every day,” fueled by the uncertainty of whether he’d ever look like the player who, in 2019, had commanded a three-year, $18 million contract extension.
He even ended up working out with former Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison, who was also working out in Arizona. Boyle didn’t approach Harrison at first — “It was kind of like, ‘He was a Pittsburgh Steeler. No one really likes him’” — but after a couple of days together, they started talking and training together.
“That dude’s super strong,” Boyle said of Harrison, one of the NFL’s elite defenders during his playing career. “I feel like an eighth-grader next to him half the time when I’m out there.”
Boyle returned to Baltimore better prepared for the rigors of the season ahead. He recalled how “demoralizing” last season was; his wife compared his emotional journey to a roller coaster’s, the highs of one day undercut by the lows of another. Boyle wanted to play, even as his banged-up body (and then the coronavirus) told him he wasn’t quite ready. After playing 32 offensive snaps in his 2022 debut, a Week 10 win over the Chicago Bears, Boyle was limited to 63 snaps over the next four games.
“Last year, he just wasn’t the same guy,” Harbaugh said. “I mean, that injury was a bad injury. Certainly, we all hoped he’d come back last year and be ready to go, but he just couldn’t do it. And then he did have a setback or two in there along the way. Now it’s just all clicked. And he looks like Nick, but I would say he looks a little faster and a little quicker than he did before.”
Even with the Ravens’ investment in tight ends and fullbacks this offseason — general manager Eric DeCosta re-signed Pro Bowl selection Patrick Ricard and drafted Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar in the fourth round — there should be a spot for a healthy Boyle on the team’s 53-man roster this summer. He’s the best in-line blocker among the Ravens’ tight ends, a skill that allows Andrews to line up in the slot, where the All-Pro is most dangerous.
Boyle said Wednesday that he’s “on a good path.” He also knows he still has to get to the end of it.
“He feels good,” Godsey said. “And we’re monitoring that as we go. Mentally, he’s there for the young guys, but physically, he feels good. It’s early, like I said. [When] we put the pads on, we’ll see how that situation goes when we get there.”
Denial of responsibility! galaxyconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.