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News & Notes: With Dad's Help, Willie Snead IV Dropped Weight to Add Speed

WR Willie Snead IV
WR Willie Snead IV

Willie Snead IV Dropped Weight to Get Faster

While Marquise "Hollywood" Brown bulked up this offseason, veteran Willie Snead IV went in the opposite direction. An intense offseason of training with his father in South Florida has led to Snead dropping seven pounds.

"I got the results I wanted. I feel faster. I feel lighter," Snead said Wednesday. "I really am feeling good at this weight. I haven't been this weight since my first year in the league."

Snead is the Ravens' most physical wide receiver and an excellent blocker, but like any wide receiver, he loves catching the football. During his first season in Baltimore in 2018, Snead caught 62 passes for 651 yards and a touchdown while being targeted 95 times. Last year, he caught five touchdown passes, but his catches (31), receiving yards (339) and targets (46) went down.

"I think for me, I've been playing at 200-202 (pounds) the past three years, and I think that was just really heavy for me," Snead said. "I didn't feel as good. I didn't feel as quick, as fast. I think that affected me in the passing game a little bit – just creating separation, getting open, getting down the field a little bit faster."

Snead changed his diet to eat "clean" by cutting out carbs and sugars, and his father, a former NFL wide receiver with the New York Jets, worked him hard.

"It's hot, it's humid, we're sweating every day. My dad has me on the pavement, running," Snead said. "[I'm] just being disciplined and trying to attack this 2020 year the best I can, because this is my contract year. I'm up again, and I just want to get the best out of it.

"And I feel like dropping weight really helped me. I have my hand fully healthy now. There are no surgeries, no nothing. For me, I'm just excited for the opportunity to come out here with these young guys and to be able to push the offense to the next level. That is my expectation for myself. I'm here now. I feel great. I'm just ready to go. I'm ready to play some football."

Marquise Brown Added Muscle But Didn't Lose Speed

Brown is obviously stronger and bigger than last season, but that does not mean he has gotten slower.

One of the NFL's fastest players, Brown says he has maintained his speed despite adding muscle to his frame. He was the Ravens' most dynamic deep threat last season and has maintained his ability to strike quickly on any play.

"I got the Ravens to send me a GPS tracker down to make sure I was still at top speed," Brown said. "Even my first day running, not even going top speed, I matched my highest speed since I've been with the Ravens. I was pleased to hear that. I just had to make sure it was still there."

"Everything with gaining weight was keeping my speed and getting faster. I put together a good regimen with the running. It wasn't just like I put the weight and tried to get out there and start running. It took time for the weight to stick on me. I was gaining, losing. It started sticking around June."'

Brown always seems to have an extra gear when it comes to speed. When asked if he is now as fast as he was in college, he smiled.

"I didn't get there yet," Brown said. "I haven't touched that."

Hollywood Benefits From Workouts With Antonio Brown

Having a cousin who's an accomplished NFL receiver like Antonio Brown has given Hollywood Brown insight into how much work it takes to be an elite receiver. As usual, the two players trained together this summer in South Florida, and they were joined by Lamar Jackson. The intensity level that the Pittsburgh Steelers receiver brings to workouts impressed Jackson, but Hollywood Brown had seen it before.

"I've been working out with A.B. since I was in college," Brown said. "I know what he's about. He's a guy that's going to push you. He's a guy who takes care of his body. I learned about him, making sure that everything is right even when you're not injured, always work on yourself, always better yourself."

Antonio Brown has been served an eight-game suspension to start the season for violations of the league's personal conduct policy. While is NFL future remains unclear, Hollywood Brown echoed Jackson's sentiments that his cousin would fit in with the Ravens.

"A.B., he's a guy that's going to bring the best out of you," Brown said. "I feel like he can fit in this locker room. He's a guy that's competitive. He's going to go out there and give 100 percent, and seeing stuff like that is going to make other guys do the same."

Baltimore's veterans are back for training camp and ramping up to the on-field action.

Snead Embraces Role of Being Most Experienced Wide Receiver

The Ravens have drafted four wide receivers the past two seasons – Brown, Miles Boykin and rookies Devin Duvernay and James Proche. That's a lot of young talent at a critical position, but Snead plans to help the younger receivers get up to speed quickly.

"It's funny that I'm the oldest guy in the room," said Snead, who is 27 years old. "I still feel like a young man. Me as the leader in the room, I just have to give them the right advice, lead in the right direction, show them how to be a pro. So far they've been doing really good."

The training camp competition will be intense, with many players vying for targets without the benefit of preseason games this year. Snead thinks the atmosphere will help the wide receivers blossom.

"Every practice is important," Snead said. "Every rep with Lamar is important. Guys like Miles, guys like Marquise are going to take that next step because they expect that out of themselves. There's going to be lot of great healthy competitions. At the end of the day, guys are going to have to prove themselves, prove their worth, and get out there and make these plays."

Check out the Ravens rookies at the start of training camp.

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