It was a weighty undertaking for Bryan Hall when he got a text message from Ravens coach John Harbaugh after last season.
The 6-foot, 300-pound reserve defensive lineman was asked if he wanted to convert to inside linebacker, and he enthusiastically accepted the position change.
The hard part? Losing enough weight and gaining enough mobility to be a viable linebacker.
Months later, Hall has gotten down to a lean 255 pounds through a strict diet and exercise regimen.
"It's going good. I'm finally feeling like a linebacker now," Hall said. "I got my weight all the way down. At minicamp, I was basically still a defensive lineman playing linebacker and learning the game. Now that I've got all my weight off, it's time to work."
Hall has been training at TZ Sports in Eldersburg under the direction of Troy Jones.
"It's been a lot of hard work at a great facility with a great trainer," Hall said. "I've been getting in a lot of hard work, a lot of sprints, a lot of football-based stuff, a lot of linebacker drills."
An all-state linebacker growing up in Paducah, Ky., before becoming an All-Sun Belt Conference selection at Arkansas State -- where he recorded 125 career tackles, 27 1/2 for losses and 17 sacks -- Hall lined up at inside linebacker in a preseason game last summer against the St. Louis Rams.
Although obviously rusty and oversized for linebacker at that time, Hall didn't embarrass himself.
"That was fun," said Hall, who played in five games last season and had two tackles. "That brought me back to my old days."
Signed to a one-year, $480,000 exclusive-rights free agent tender, Hall has found his biggest adjustment has been learning the nuances of pass coverage. He's also hoping to play a bigger role on special teams this fall.
"Running is easy, but I've got to get back and know where I'm going to be and where to cover," Hall said. "Now that I've done that, I'm going to be flying around pretty fast."
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