Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis isn't lounging around during the lockout. In fact, he's doing one of the toughest workouts any football player or anyone else can do.
Marcedes has been spending his offseason working out with Fox Sports Jay Glazer, doing MMA training. This workout has helped turn the games of Clay Matthews and Jared Allen into elite players and assisted the Atlanta Falcons with a NFC South title in 2010.
The driving force behind Lewis' decision to take on this monumental task was his mother.
"His mom made him come and work out with us," Fox Sports NFL Expert and MMA trainer Jay Glazer said. "I met him at the Pro Bowl and said, 'Marcedes, this training isn't for everybody, 1 out of 2 guys quit the first day.' It's unbelievable how many guys quit this. Every guy that comes around, I assume they're not going to stay, they're going to quit."
How interested is Lewis in working out?
"This dude is a huge fan of the UFC, this is like a fantasy camp for him to be here because he's a huge fight fan. I'm getting him to think like a fighter and he's going to go out there and fight with everybody across that line of scrimmage," Glazer explained.
"I'm a big fan of the sport," Lewis reaffirmed.
It would've been easy for the Jaguars star tight end to rest on his laurels following his Pro Bowl season in 2010. Lewis set new franchise records for touchdowns for a tight end and praise was heaped upon him for much of the year.
"Most of the time as a professional athlete, you think you know everything," Lewis explained. "But you come in here, I put my ego at the door. I wanted to do something to step outside the box and I wanted to challenge myself to do something different."
How tough are the workouts?
"The first thing Jay (Glazer) told me was, when you're ready to go to a dark place, let me know. At first I didn't know what he was talking about, but now I know," said the Jaguars tight end.
Which part of the MMA training is Lewis excelling the most at?
"I think my strongest drill right now is probably my kicks. When we first starting doing it, I had never kicked anything in my life, but once I started learning the technique, that's all she wrote after that. I love seeing that bag go from one end to the other," a sweaty Marcedes Lewis explained in a break from his workout.
How does this training translate into on-field success from the tight end position?
"My hamstrings are stronger and I can tell getting into my routes. I'm still running routes in my off-days from lifting and I'm excited to be doing something new. It's helped me so much to get the explosion through my hips and I'm so excited to keep working out and seeing where it can go."
There's also a mental factor that comes with this training.
"It's easier now to see the difference between guys that act tough and are tough. If you're tough you don't have to say anything. You don't have to go around with your chest popped out and make it a point to act tough," Lewis explained.
Marcedes Lewis has never been a stranger to hard work. He was lauded while at UCLA for his extra hours and and training which helped him become the Mackey Award winner for the nation's best tight end. He has also worked himself into a team leader at the NFL level and was made an example of in a positive way by Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio on several occasions.
"For some people, they take the elevator to the top. I'd like to think of myself as taking the stairs," Lewis said as he explained the mindset which has helped him become one of the best players in the NFL. "I'm a guy who has always had to work for everything that I've gotten. Given the fact that my mom had me when she was 15 years old I was faced with a lot of adversity growing up and I know what it takes to get there. I know it's going to be harder to stay there, but I want to be the consummate pro. A guy who's always getting to the Pro Bowl every year. I want to make a difference, I don't want to be just a guy or just a tight end. I want to be the best and that's why I'm here stepping outside my box and doing something different.
"When you're training, you're thinking like a fighter now. When that ball gets snapped, its just me and you, and I don't plan on losing."
Lewis is now taking every individual matchup very personal and don't be surprised if he makes so many appearances in the Pro Bowl that he purchases a vacation home in Hawaii.
Charlie Bernstein is the host of “The Sports Crunch” on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie