Typically if something happens in the NFL, it becomes public knowledge before too long. It's tough to keep things under wraps nowadays, but the Detroit Lions were able to do just that when offensive tackle Johnny Culbreath was placed on injured reserve during the final round of roster cuts last year. He was placed on IR with an illness, but we never found out what exactly was wrong.
At this point, I didn't think we'd ever get an explanation on what exactly happened, but Culbreath discussed why he missed the 2011 season this week. According to Dave Birkett, Culbreath dealt with a "recurrence of high blood pressure during training camp." Here's more on what happened:
Culbreath, who sat out the Lions’ final minicamp practice of the spring with an illness Thursday, said his blood pressure is back under control. It’s something he dealt with in college, when he first started taking medicine, and something that flared up last year, when he showed up to camp "the biggest I’ve ever been" -- at 325 pounds.
Now 10 pounds lighter, Culbreath said he stopped eating fried food and pork and started doing plenty of cardio workouts.
Culbreath views 2011 as a redshirt year since he was around the team even though he wasn't able to practice or play. Now, his focus is on improving on the field and trying to make the 53-man roster, which won't be easy given that the Lions have a lot of depth at offensive tackle.
(Side note: Culbreath was also asked about his offseason arrest, but he declined to comment on it. Anwar Richardson reported earlier this week that the NFL hasn't yet made a decision about a possible suspension for Culbreath. Personally, I don't think there will be one considering it was one isolated incident for Culbreath.)
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