Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Leftwich Has All the Answers; Jaguars Quarterback Downplays Issues, Including His Weight and Reported Locker-Room Divide

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Leftwich Has All the Answers; Jaguars Quarterback Downplays Issues, Including His Weight and Reported Locker-Room Divide

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

Byron Leftwich is a big football player, not a bodybuilder.

That was the message from the Jaguars' quarterback Tuesday when he met with the media for a pre-minicamp session.

He appeared to be leaner than he was last year, and he said the broken ankle that sidelined him for the final five regular-season games last year has completely healed.

Except for conceding that he has lost weight in the offseason, Leftwich, listed at 6-feet-5 and 240 pounds, wouldn't reveal his current weight.

"I'm a big guy," he said. "I've always been a big guy, but I've never not been in shape. I guarantee you that. How many 6-6 football players are 220? I don't worry about it. Everybody in the locker room knows how hard I work.''

Leftwich knows he'll never be a player who appears muscular, and he brushed off the talk that he doesn't look like a weight-room warrior.

"I'm not [running back] Greg Jones," he said. "I'm never going to be that way, even if I could stop eating and do every crunch. I've never been like that in my whole life. I'm not going to be on the cover of Men's Health.''

Leftwich has been working out at a local gym this offseason, but he didn't want to discuss why he added that to his offseason regimen.

"I'm not going there,'' he said. "You've got to keep some stuff to yourself.''

As he enters his fourth season, Leftwich has dealt with questions about everything from his weight to his throwing motion to his ability to stay healthy. The fact he's 21-17 as a starter and threw just five interceptions in 302 attempts last year has tended to be obscured.

Leftwich was puzzled by a report at the end of last season that the locker room was divided on the issue of whether he should be the starting quarterback over David Garrard, who went 4-1 when Leftwich was injured last year.

"We couldn't believe it," Leftwich said. "It's a great story up in Philadelphia [where controversial receiver Terrell Owens caused problems], but I doubt if it was true here.''

Leftwich said he felt the players in the locker room have a bond and said that's why they're not upset that running back Fred Taylor has decided to work out on his own in Miami in the offseason. …

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