RENTON – The larger than life personality is the same – it just comes in a slightly smaller frame for Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman John Moffitt.
“Moffitt is a guy who loves to have fun,” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said. “But also, he’s a guy who is dedicated to his craft. … Moffitt is that jokester. When things seem kind of tight, he kind of loosens you up. But at the same time he’s very focused.”
Entering his third season, the University of Wisconsin product said he’s in the best shape of his pro career after focusing on a better nutrition plan that included fewer late-night trips to fast food chains, along with no caffeinated drinks or sugary juices.
The result is about 10 pounds of weight loss for Moffitt, who’s in the midst of a tough battle for the starting right guard job with second-year pro J.R. Sweezy.
“I think it’s just more of redistributing a little bit,” Moffitt said. “I’m about 315. Last season I was about 320 at the most, maybe 325 sometimes. So maybe like a 5- or 10-pound loss, but more so I just feel like I put a little more weight on my upper body, and slimmed down a little bit.”
Moffitt said the new fitness regimen has made him a little quicker, along with improving his overall stamina.
Moffitt stayed in Seattle for offseason training with strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle. And he traveled to Florida right after the completion of the team’s offseason program in mid-June to train for four to five weeks leading up to training camp.
“I ate real good, real clean,” Moffitt said. “I knew I needed to lean up a little bit. And I feel 10 times better. I feel like I’ve come into camp in the best shape and the most prepared physically that
I’ve been. And I feel like I’m playing my best football.”
In the third year of a four-year, $2.9 million deal that will pay him $625,000 in base salary in 2013, Moffitt has had his share of bumps in the road with the Seahawks.
Drafted in the third round in 2011 as the team’s answer at right guard, Moffitt started nine games as a rookie before suffering a pair of ligament tears in his left knee that required surgery.
Last year, Moffitt had elbow surgery during training camp, opening the door to converted defensive lineman Sweezy to start the opener at Arizona as a rookie. The two continued to battle for playing time, with Moffitt fighting through lingering elbow and knee issues to start six games.
“Just playing the game healthy with a clean slate makes all the difference,” Moffitt said. “I’m just more comfortable. I got hurt my rookie year, and then my second year I was just kind of getting back. So I think I’m more comfortable in my shoes playing.”
Moffitt also had issues off the field. He violated the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs when he failed to pre-clear a drug he regularly takes for hyperactivity. He served the four-game suspension while on injured reserve in 2011.
This summer, pleaded guilty in Bellevue District Court to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. Moffitt, 26, paid a fine of $1,407, and received a suspended sentence of 24 months in jail. He initially faced two misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing and obstruction of a law enforcement officer after three separate incidents at Bellevue Square shopping mall in 2012.
Sweezy started Seattle’s exhibition opener last week in San Diego, while the two continue to split reps during drills in a competition that likely will go down to the final exhibition game.
Moffitt said he and Sweezy are good friends, and have not let the battle for the starting right guard job affect their bond.
“He and I have talked about it,” Moffitt said. “And we’re like, ‘You know, whatever happens, happens, and best of luck to you.’ But at the end of the day we’re still close friends.
“The NFL is the NFL. But he comes over to my house all the time. He’s a great guy. We don’t make it personal. We look at it like a business, which it is.”
Nineteen players missed drills Monday. Newly sidelined were defensive end Jesse Williams (knee) and linebacker Bobby Wagner (shoulder). Players returning to practice were tight end Darren Fells (hamstring) and offensive lineman Mike Person (calf), who was a limited participant.
Others who did not practice included DB Byron Maxwell (ankle), WR Bryan Walters (hamstring), DE Ty Powell (thigh bruise), DE Cliff Avril (hamstring), OL James Carpenter (foot), DL Michael Bennett (undisclosed), RB Christine Michael (back spasms), CB Ron Parker (hamstring), DL Tony McDaniel (groin) and DE Jaye Howard (shoulder).
Players who remained on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list were DE Chris Clemons (knee), TE Zach Miller (foot), CB Tharold Simon (foot), WR Percy Harvin (hip) and DL Greg Scruggs (knee). LB Korey Toomer (hip) remains on the non-football injury list.
Home exhibition opener: Denver at Seattle, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field, Ch. 13, 710-AM, 97.3-FMEric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org @eric_d_williams blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks