Jorvorskie Lane would be driving the Ashley truck day after day, hauling furniture through monotonous stretches of Central Texas, and the thought could not escape him:
This is not what I want to do. I should be punishing people on a football field.
A year later and 47 pounds lighter, Lane has emerged as one of the Dolphins’ feel-good stories, an NFL dream finally fulfilled four years after leaving Texas A&M.
“For anybody who has made mistakes in life, look at my situation,” he said. “I made the mistake of being too heavy. If you want to do something in life, go do it. I feel blessed.”
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Lane thought for months about making fundamental changes in his life, but finally committed to it in February, the weekend before his birthday, when his weight stood at 304 pounds.
He was discouraged because the St. Louis Rams called in January but never followed up.
“They said they would work me out but didn’t go through with it,” he said. “That kind of got me down…. I just put in my mind that this is what I want to do. I just started doing the right thing.”
That meant changing his lifestyle as much as his diet. That meant no more “hanging out and partying,” no more late-night snacks, no more sweets.
He committed to a program of fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit, tons of water and very few carbohydrates.
And he ran. And ran some more, with some MMA and boxing training sprinkled in.
“I ran all the time,” he said. “I was running four, five miles a day. If I didn’t run straight, I would break it up. It was crazy. Before I knew it, I was 270.”
FINALLY IN SHAPE
The timing was fortuitous, because Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman (Lane’s former coach at Texas A&M) called him in May to see if he was in shape. Lane told him he was.
“He said, ‘Are you ready? I’m going to get these guys to work you out. I know you can play,’ ” Lane said.
Sherman convinced general manager Jeff Ireland to give him a tryout, but Ireland agreed only on one condition: Lane said Ireland “told me if I come in at more than 268, we would not even go through with the workout. Fortunately, I was already 262.”
The Dolphins signed him after the workout and he subsequently beat out Jerome Messam and Ryan Mahafee for a roster spot.
“Mike said he was in excellent shape and when he had him, he was a talented player,” Philbin said. “When we brought him in, you could see the natural balance, movement skills, the ability to catch the football.”
Lane is at 257 pounds now, his lowest in several years. Toughest habit to give up?
“Eating late,” he said. “You had to change your social life. When you hang out with friends, the first thing you want to do when you get done is eat. I had to change all that.”
Lane ran for 780 yards (4.6 per carry) as a junior, but Sherman moved him to fullback in his senior year after Sherman replaced coach Dennis Franchione. Lane blocked primarily for Mike Goodson, now with the Oakland Raiders.
Lane finished with 49 touchdowns in 49 college games but allowed his weight to balloon to 295 pounds, went undrafted, then spent a year in the Indoor League.
To support his wife and three young children, Lane spent four months working for the furniture company, “moving stuff from peoples’ houses, driving to Waco” from College Station. But he said he quit last October – “I got tired of it” – with the hope that an NFL job would materialize.
He appreciates the guidance from his half-brother, Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, who “was a real big influence” and talks or texts with him twice a week.
Philbin tagged Lane with an amusing nickname, Butterball, but Lane has no objections: “He can call me anything he wants.”
Philbin said Lane has “steadily improved” but “still has a long way to go... If you were playing a pickup game, you’d probably pick him in the first or second round.”
Lane, ranked 11th among fullbacks this season by Pro Football Focus, said he appreciates Sherman lobbying for him. Sherman said early in training camp that he hoped Lane would make the team because he “needs a job.”
And now that he’s in the league, “I’m going to punish people,” he said. “I’m not going to outrun nobody. That’s what I’ve been doing since I’ve been playing football – punishing people.”