CLEVELAND - The stir caused by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's weight-loss surgery is nothing compared to what Barkevious Mingo is dealing with at the Browns' rookie orientation.
Do you think you need to gain some weight?
What do you want to weigh when training camp opens?
Can you eat anything and not put on weight?
Those were some of the questions asked of the first-round draft choice after a practice Friday that included 29 draft choices and free agents along with 20 tryout players. Depending on different points of view, Mingo should either stay at his current weight of 237 or immediately start to consume two quarter pounders and a large fries every day.
Mingo seemed amused by it all. In his thinking a good football player can excel without the need of a few extra pounds.
"Exactly," he said. "You hit; you tackle; you run, you catch. It's football."
Mingo, who will convert from defensive end to outside linebacker, will undoubtedly be asked to report at a heavier weight when camp opens in late July. Coach Rob Chudzinski wouldn't reveal the target weight, but it's safe to assume it will be in the 245 range. The key is to not add so much weight that he loses his calling card, which is cat-like quickness.
"I don't know if it's 15 or 20 pounds. That remains to be seen," Chudzinski said. "Different guys have different body types and different weights they play the best at. You look at guys like (former NFL defensive end) Jason Taylor to the bigger guys. It's a matter of getting him in here and spending some time with (strength) coach (Brad) Rolle and bringing him up to speed. All those things will work themselves out."
Mingo was a high school track standout in Monroe, La. He ran the 200 meters in 22.7 and had a 48.5 in the 400.
LSU football coach Les Miles saw that speed and envisioned how it would parlay to Saturday afternoons in the fall. Mingo developed to the point that the Browns targeted him and no one else with the sixth overall pick in the draft.
Mingo knows he'll be asked to add more bulk. He doesn't seem to have any problems with that plan.
"Whatever they ask me to do, I'll do it," Mingo said. "As far as how much, it doesn't really matter. I think I can hold a pretty good bit and still be effective."
Chudzinski saw Mingo in a football setting for the first time yesterday. He's watched a ton of tape and had a chance to evaluate Mingo at the NFL combine and when Mingo visited the Browns prior to the draft.
"He looked pretty quick and pretty fast to me," Chudzinski said. "He moved around the field pretty well. It's always different when you see guys live and in person and you're close on the field to them. He had a good day. He really picks up things well. That's the thing that stood out to me."
For Mingo the first day of camp was a chance to show that he's as good as advertised.
"I just wanted to go out there and show the coaches that their pick in me was a good choice," he said. "I wanted to show them all what they looked for in pre-combine and pre-draft and all that kind of stuff."
The Browns can't wait to see how all that speed plays out when the players can put on pads in August.