DeMario Pressley is pushing trucks, chasing bouncing balls and swimming laps. He’s running along the canals of New Orleans and lifting weights with players for the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints.
Pressley, a former defensive tackle for NC State, is trying to make sure he’s ready whenever the NFL is open for business again.
“We’re just waiting, doing whatever we can physically or mentally to be prepared,” Pressley said in telephone interview this week. “We have to be prepared whenever the lockout is done with. We could go right into training camp, maybe even a game, so we have to be ready.”
Pressley was drafted by the Saints in 2008, but acquired by the Indianaopolis Colts earlier this year. But because of the lockout, Pressley has not been able to talk with his new coaches.
“We can’t call them, they can’t send us film – no contact at all,” Pressley said.
Because he is going to a new team, Pressley says he has to be ready to make a good first impression with his new coaches and teammates when the lockout is over. One of his training partners, nose tackle Marlon Favorite of the New England Patriots, is in a similar situation.
“We feel like we have to work harder,” Pressley said. “We feel like we have to be in better shape than the other guys. We push each other.”
Pressley is living in New Orleans, where he trains every day with about a dozen other NFL players. He said they do drills to help with strength, quickness and conditioning. On Fridays, the trainer sometimes makes the players push a truck 40 yards. On other days, the trainer stands 10-15 yards away from Pressley and drops a small, bouncing ball. Pressley is expected to catch it before it bounces a second time.
“I love that drill,” Pressley said. “It’s like I’m coming out of my stance full speed to sack the quarterback.”
Normally, Pressley would be working out with other members of the Colts. But he says all NFL players are “in the same boat” during the lockout, so it makes sense to train with players from other teams.
“These guys might be enemies when the season comes around, but right now they’re my teammates,” he said.
Even with the daily workouts, Pressley has plenty of spare time on his hands. He has visited family and friends in Greensboro a few times recently and made it back to NC State for the spring football game, where he enjoyed showing off his Super Bowl ring. Pressley says he has watched each episode of “House,” his favorite television show, three or four times.
He has also spent a lot of hours playing “Call of Duty” on his Xbox with other friends in the NFL. “I’m the man,” Pressley says of his video game prowess.
Pressley says fans frequently approach him to talk about the lockout. He recalled one fan who told him the players needed to stop being greedy. “I feel like it was just a deal that needed to be done,” Pressley said. “The owners had their points and the players did, too.”‘
Meanwhile, Pressley says his focus will remain on being ready whenever the lockout is over.
“I expect to go out there and immediately make an impact,” he said. “I’m going to be in shape. I’m going to be ready. I plan to be that guy that they can depend on.”