After having one of the more talked about storylines of OTAs, linebacker Aaron Lynch has returned to the San Francisco 49ers facility for training camp with a new look. Gone is his thick brown hair and any extra weight he was carrying.
A similar transformation happened last season after he gained sympathy weight during his girlfriend’s pregnancy, but this time it seems even more noticeable. Prior to OTAs he had gotten a little heavier, yet not as much as in 2016. This offseason, the time off included his marriage and understandably much celebration. Lynch himself reported he was a little over what the staff wanted his weight to be before the six week break. Since that point he has lost 30 pounds and is looking to lose another five before the season starts. I mentioned that he didn’t look as heavy as he did during the 2016 offseason, and he replied, “I’m a big guy, I carry my weight pretty well.”
Lynch credits a significant amount of this transformation to his wife, Gabriella, who is seven months pregnant with their second child. She not only served as an inspiration for the linebacker but helped with meal preparation, cooking healthy food guided by the team’s coordinator of nutrition Jordan Mazur.
The new regime added several pieces to the defense in the offseason and any sign of a lack of dedication could be detrimental to a player’s future. Obviously performance on the field is paramount but a weight issue could be a tipping point for players on the cusp. It’s also the last year of Lynch’s rookie contract so the pressure to perform is definitely on the linebacker.
Lynch spent the offseason working out at the 49ers facility with strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright only taking four or five days off. Lynch calls Wright’s workouts, “brutal, but brutally great. You dread it sometimes but at the end of the workout you’re glad you came and did it.” Lynch took it upon himself to schedule himself two-a-day practices, adding a cardio session in the evening. He has also cut out any alcohol since the beginning of OTAs. Lynch said he’s not a huge drinker but he has cut out even the occasional beer.
Lynch is excited about the new season and his primary job of getting to the quarterback. “They put us in the best position in this defense to do that.” Both veterans the 49ers added, Elvis Dumervil and Earl Mitchell, have added leadership through example, which has motivated Lynch further.
Lynch also remarked on the transformation of the entire defensive line since last season saying that each of them has the ability to stay in for ten plays in a row if they have to because they are in such good shape.
We’re so deep in D-line that no one should have to go more than three plays. We should, be in and out, in and out and we should be getting to the quarterback almost every damn passing play because we have too many unstoppable people.
While shaving his head was just to try something new, Lynch’s approach to the season was in an effort to not let the people in his life down. “I know I’ve had some hiccups. I have to take care of my family, my mom, and my kids. That’s my motivation. I think I’m on the right track now.”