Last week, Cam Heyward told reporters Daniel McCullers went under the knife during the offseason but failed to specify on its exact nature.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler got to the bottom of it via McCullers’ agent Thomas Simms. Simms said McCullers had a minor scope done on his shoulder to clean up an injury suffered at Tennessee. This is an agent spinning things, keep in mind, but Simms attributes it to some of McCullers’ problems last season.
“After three to four [defensive] series, it would start to hurt and he couldn’t get off blocks,” Simms told Fowler.
McCullers never appeared to miss time due to a shoulder, or any, injury during his two years at Tennessee but this does suggest it’s been a long-term hindrance.
Simms also told Fowler the nose tackle now wears contacts after he struggled to see the board in team meetings. He is looking to keep his weight down, playing in the 340-350 range in 2016. It will hopefully improve his mobility, helping him flow versus zone schemes and be a more impactful pass rusher.
This season has been framed as equally big as McCullers’ stature. Judging from the statements players like Heyward have made, he is expected to be the starting nose tackle and finally break out now that Steve McLendon has left. Heyward and McCullers have both acknowledged that he has to play with better technique. Hopefully the offseason steps he’s taken will give him the greatest opportunity to do so.
Also, here’s a picture of McCullers from Steelers.com, showing off his huge calves. Because it’s fun to see.