GREEN BAY, Wis. — Eddie Lacy saw the picture. Players inside the Green Bay Packers locker room saw it too and made sure to give their rookie running back a hard time about it.
Lacy didn’t care. Yeah, that particular photo doesn’t make the 5-foot-11, 230-pounder look good, but Lacy knows it’s not an accurate representation of the condition that he’s in.
“That’s something I don’t too much worry about,” Lacy said Tuesday in the locker room. “That’s an external factor. I learned in college to pretty much distance yourself from that. I mean, people are going to say what they’re going to say, but, at the end of the day, I have to do what I have to do, and that’s what I’m doing.
“The good comes with the bad, and you wake up the next day and go do what you’ve got to do.”
Lacy’s bruising style of running is what helped Alabama win the national championship last year and led him to be named the game’s Most Valuable Player. The Packers knew that’s the type of running back they were getting when Green Bay drafted Lacy in the second round with the 61st overall pick.
“I’ve always been big,” Lacy said. “I’m a power back. I pretty much get the tough yards and I’m fast enough to get around the outside and make big plays, so I don’t have a problem in that aspect of the game.”
Lacy, who is often active on his Twitter account, received a phone call Monday night telling him that a photo of him in practice had started to circulate around the internet.
“I don’t have any reaction,” Lacy said, adding that his conditioning and playing weight are exactly where he and the team wants it to be.
Coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t concerned with Lacy, either.
“Eddie Lacy, going through the conditioning test, he was fine,” McCarthy said. “Any time our players come in, we have a physical, a conditioning test. So, if we had any concerns about any of our guys conditioning-wise, they wouldn’t be on the field.”
When Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb saw the photo of Lacy, he thought it would make for a good opportunity to have a laugh at the expense of the rookie.
“I definitely made fun of him last night,” Cobb said. “I pulled the picture up. We know he’s in shape. We know he’s good. It’s just a bad angle. It’s definitely a bad angle.
“Definitely an unflattering shot. I’m sure you can find one of me with my little pudge sticking out.”
All kidding aside, Cobb gave Lacy a glowing endorsement.
“I think he’s going to have a big year,” Cobb said. “I think he’s going to do some great things for us this year. … I know how physical he is. Being so big and also his quickness, he has really good feet. You can see whenever he makes his cuts in the hole that he has really good feet.
“To be the size that he is and be able to move the way he does is very impressive.”
Lacy showed off all of his tools in Tuesday’s full-pads practice as he ran through — and around — several Green Bay defenders. During the Packers’ 11-on-11 red zone team drills, Lacy was dominant. Though there wasn’t any take-down tackling being done, there was plenty of hitting, and Lacy was the one causing a lot of the contact.
“Today I feel like it was my best day since I’ve been out here,” Lacy said. “I was comfortable with everything and I feel like I ran smooth and made good reads and I just the hole the way I was supposed to.”
Lacy ran in three touchdowns during that team period, scoring from distances of 4 yards, 6 yards and 11 yards.
“I felt good,” Lacy said. “I did pretty good down in the red zone. The line did a great job at blocking and giving me holes and different reads and I hit ’em the way it was designed for me to hit. I felt good. I was smooth with it. I’ll go watch film, make corrections and move on.”
McCarthy certainly noticed Lacy’s tremendous performance in the short-yardage situations.
“Eddie Lacy definitely falls in that category of ‘big back’ and big backs fall forward,” McCarthy said. “You obviously coach all your backs to try to do that, but that’s definitely the benefit of big backs. I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to coach big backs. It’s definitely a preference, particularly in that (red zone) area.”
It remains to be seen whether Lacy becomes Green Bay’s starting running back or if he ends up getting the most carries this season. The Packers also drafted Johnathan Franklin in the fourth round and have holdovers DuJuan Harris, James Starks and Alex Green competing to be the starter, as well.
Whichever running back wins that job, he’ll have a big challenge in turning around a Green Bay rushing attack that hasn’t finished better than 20th in NFL rankings since 2009.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Lacy said. “Whenever they give me the opportunity, I just go in the huddle, listen to the play and execute it to the best of my ability.”
Negative reactions will soon begin to fade away about Lacy’s supposedly overweight picture, especially as people see him in action this season. But, while some might have expected Lacy to be upset that his reputation was taking a hit so early in his career, he never thought twice about it.
“It’s something for people to talk about, I guess, but that’s not my business,” Lacy said. “I’m just here to play football, and that’s what I’m doing.”