Mixon shed 12 pounds from last season’s playing weight of 230, per the team’s website. The 21-year-old insists that his weight loss is due to working out consistently in the steamy climates of Norman, Okla., and hometown Oakland, Calif.
“I was working in that heat,” Mixon said. “I feel like that’s where I play my best. I was trying to get low last year but I wasn’t able to make it. I feel real good. My body feels real good. I feel like I’m in really good shape.”
Mixon didn’t start for the first seven weeks of his rookie season, but a season-ending ankle injury to Jeremy Hill resulted in a bigger workload for the then-rookie. He finished with 178 carries for a team-best 626 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games since being selected by the Bengals in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Mixon will be aided this season by an upgraded offensive line, which saw the additions of first-round pick Billy Price out of Ohio State and tackle Cordy Glenn in the offseason.
“People fail to realize that without an offensive line … I don’t care how good of a running back he is, without an offensive line, it’s hard,” former Bengals star running back Ickey Woods said. “When we had our [guy] Hue Jackson here, Hill ran the ball real well because the offensive line fired out. After Hue left, [former Bengals offensive line coach Paul] Alexander went back to that zone blocking crap and we got our butts kicked. Hopefully this new O-line coach can light a fire under those guys and open some holes out there.”
Bengals training camp begins next week.