Wearing a long-sleeved black shirt Wednesday, Ravens outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw left the practice field covered in sweat.
Upshaw wore the shirt with the intentions of melting off some pounds under the hot sun.
Although Upshaw isn't nearly as heavy as last spring when he tipped the scales at 295 pounds and prompted coach John Harbaugh to question his eating habits, the strong-side outside linebacker is noticeably bigger than he was during the 2013 regular season. Upshaw acknowledged that he still needs to lose more weight to get in optimal shape.
"I'm feeling good, I'm still working," said Upshaw, who ultimately dropped roughly 20 pounds last year before the start of the season. "The weight ain't where it needs to be, where I want it to be. It's a grind."
"That's why you might see me in long sleeves and be like, 'Courtney, it's hot out here. Why are you in long sleeves?' I'm working, man, the cardio, getting it in. It's a whole new mindset. I'm doing the right things."
Listed on the roster at 6-foot-2, 272 pounds, Upshaw didn't disclose his current weight. The 2012 second-round draft pick out of Alabama plays the game with power and is adept at grappling with offensive linemen to gain leverage and set the edge as a run-stopper.
Upshaw started a dozen games last season and recorded 29 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two pass deflections as Elvis Dumervil operated primarily as a pass rusher and had 9.5 sacks.
Harbaugh identified progress in Upshaw, especially compared to last year when he was struggling to move around the practice field. This year, Upshaw's mobility appears normal.
"He looks like he's in really good shape," Harbaugh said of Upshaw. "We'll start monitoring the weight a little bit more closely. He's in the ballpark. It's not like he's out of shape weight-wise. He's close. No problem getting through practice, he looks good."
Unlike a year ago when personal issues had him spending a significant amount of time away from the team back in Alabama, Upshaw has been a regular at the Ravens' offseason training program this spring.
A few of Upshaw's primary goals are to upgrade his pass coverage and become more of a pass-rushing threat. Through two NFL seasons, Upshaw has recorded 84 tackles, three sacks, four pass deflections and two fumble recoveries.
"I feel good, man," Upshaw said. "I'm just honestly at a different level with my mindset going into the season. I'm trying to do things differently than what I used to. I was able to be here more than my second year here and not come in too much overweight.
"It's always going to be a grind because I can gain weight faster than I lose it. I was talking to Bob [Rogucki], the strength coach and telling him how different I feel running out there, especially on special teams. I'm able to go out there and feel great."
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