By Steve Corkran
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 at 5:33 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Jared Veldheer always was easy to spot in a crowd, at 6-foot-8, 325 pounds, even amongst his peers on the field in an NFL game. And that was before the Raiders left offensive tackle embarked upon a new workout regime and altered his diet this offseason.
Veldheer since has added five pounds and considerable muscle tone, something he shared on a Twitter picture earlier this year.
“It’s funny how that picture kind of exploded,” Veldheer said by phone as he prepared for the start of the Raiders offseason workout program in Alameda.
The picture shows Veldheer, 25, posing in a gym right after he finished lifting dumbbells. His bulging biceps prompted many to liken Veldheer to The Incredible Hulk.
Veldheer said he is surprised by how much attention he received for that picture. Ultimately, he wants to be recognized for his play as the blind-side tackle for the Raiders.
To that end, Veldheer always seeks ways to improve his strength, mobility, speed and blocking technique. This offseason, that meant following strength coach Mark Ehnis’ advice in the weight room and at the dining table.
“I feel a huge energy boost,” Veldheer said. “That’s gotten me ready quicker for the next workout. I’m just feeling good and I’ve been hitting some of the best weights that I’ve hit here, pretty much in my life. … I’m excited to get to use it all on the field.”
All the while, Veldheer was careful not to get so muscle-bound that it cut down on the mobility and flexibility he needs to succeed on the football field.
“That can happen if you’re not working on the right stuff, for sure, but I’ve been working on a lot of good stuff, a lot of mobility work and proper technique within the lifting,” Veldheer said. “I feel like I’m more mobile than I’ve been. I’m able to move lower. I feel like I’m at my quickest, too.”
Veldheer has started every game the past two seasons and 43 in of 48 in his three NFL seasons.
At times, he has played on a level commensurate with the game’s top left tackles. Yet, he’s never satisfied.
It’s a common sight to see Veldheer working on his technique and working out long after his teammates have exited the practice field.
“He’s the steady-Eddie guy,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said of Veldheer last season. “You don’t really notice him and then, all of a sudden, you look up and you say, ‘Hey, he’s had a pretty nice day.’ ”
It won’t be hard to miss Veldheer this season judging by the recent picture.
“It (reflects) the work that I’ve put in,” Veldheer said. “It’s nice when people can respect that. At the end of the day, it’s not about the picture. It’s about trying to get better and getting stronger, faster and working on the drills I need to get better on the football field.”