Phillip Tanner looks like a new man. He feels like one, too.
The Dallas Cowboys running back lost 10 pounds in the offseason, down to 210. He credits his weight loss to better eating and different workouts.
“The coaches see the difference,” Tanner said Tuesday. “Coach [Bill] Callahan messaged me in the offseason and said, ‘I thought about putting you at fullback last year,’ joking around because I was so big. It really has helped me, and I appreciate all the hard work I put in during the offseason.”
Tanner played in 14 games last season but carried the ball only 25 times for 61 yards with four catches for 41 yards. He had expected his second season in the league to be more productive, especially considering DeMarco Murray missed six games and Felix Jones was non-productive.
“There were a lot of times last year where I would see it, but I wasn’t able to get there as fast I wanted to,” Tanner said. “In the NFL, holes are only open for so long. So it was kind of hindering me from that. My goal this offseason was just to get leaner, faster and quicker and play at a certain weight.”
He is as light as he has been since his sophomore season in college. It has him playing faster. He outran Bruce Carter in an 11-on-11 drill Monday, something he admits he probably wouldn’t have done last year.
Tanner’s eating habits changed in the offseason. At Chili’s, his favorite restaurant, he chose the salmon and broccoli. At Wendy’s, it was a grilled chicken salad and a baked potato. He was allowed two cheat meals per week, with Wingstop and Dominos the favored stops. Snacks became granola bars instead of candy.
It has turned him into a lean running back ready to compete not only for a job but for playing time.
“We come out, and we compete against each other every day,” Tanner said of the running backs, “and it just makes the team better.”