Lynn Swann was took ballet lessons. So it’s not new for players to look for unique avenues to help them on the football field. That’s what Chris Hubbard intends to do during the offseason, telling Steelers.com Teresa Varley he is going to dedicate time to yoga to focus on his flexibility.
“I want to get more flexible. I want to get stronger in the weight room. My workouts are going to be weight room and yoga, do more yoga so I can get more flexible.”
Yoga is certainly not a brand new technique and countless athletes, from LeBron James to Victor Cruz, have taken it up in the past. Even if it wrongly still carries a feminine stigma in 2016, there’s no question of its helpful impact on athletes. And as Hubbard tells Varley, he’ll combine his yoga training with plenty of time in the weight room, finding a healthy balance to avoid being “behind the eight ball” for the start of next season.
It’s an important year for Hubbard, who has slowly moved up the ranks in the Steelers’ offensive line. Though Hubbard’s play has never been particularly impressive at one position, his versatility has allowed him to make the 53 man roster the last two years. He’s played all three interior spots, left tackle, and tight end in unbalanced formations. It’s been easy to count him out; he’s undersized and not notably powerful or athletic, but his IQ and trust built up with the coaching staff are two values that can’t be overlooked.
But like any player on the end of the roster, he’s in a constant fight to keep his roster spot. He’ll face additional pressure from B.J. Finney, who we’ve endlessly written about the team being high on, and whatever other offensive line competition the team chooses to bring in.
There were an onslaught of UDFAs last year; Miles Dieffenbach, Reese Dismukes, and Finney, and Hubbard was able to beat out them all, though Finney’s ankle injury surely played some role in the final decision.
The Steelers are almost obligated to bring in better offensive tacckle depth, assuming Kelvin Beachum signs elsewhere, and possibly supplanting Hubbard from his backup swing tackle role he held post-Beachum in 2015. Hubbard held off Byron Stingily but there’s no guarantee he can survive the next wave.