Listed on the Dolphins roster at 5 feet 11, 258 pounds, Lane gives new meaning to the term “jumbo back.” Four months before signing with Miami in June, he was even “jumboer.”
By his own calculations,
Lane had signed a contract with the Orlando Predators in November and was set to start training camp in February, but he had bigger aspirations.
“I said I’m going to try this NFL shot one more time,” Lane said. “I prayed and I prayed. I worked and worked. I prayed and I worked, I worked, and here I am now.”
Signed on June 5, Lane also is in Miami because new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman saw first-hand the oversized back’s unique skill set.
Sherman took over as head coach at Texas A&M in 2008 prior to Lane’s senior season with the Aggies. After Lane had spent his first three college years at halfback, Sherman moved him to fullback.
“When I was at A&M, he always told me, man, if you ever get in the 260s, you’ll be a hell of a football player, and I know for a fact that you can play in the NFL,” Lane recalled. “At the time at A&M, my whole career I played at 280, 285, 290. I could pretty much move like a 200-pound back at that weight, but Coach Sherman had always screamed in my ear, ‘Jorvorskie, I’m telling you, between 260 and 270, it’s your ideal weight.’
“The NFL, it’s a business, it’s hard. In order for me to get a shot, I had to report here between 260, 270. So I grind. I grind. I lost weight. I looked good. I came here, looked good in front of the head coach, the GM and Coach Sherman. They signed me that same day.”
Lane got his workout with the Dolphins with help from Gary Reynolds, who was an assistant on Sherman’s staff and is now the school’s director of football operations.
Lane says he had a weigh-in with Reynolds, who contacted Sherman, who then contacted the running back.
By the time Sherman got to coach Lane in college, he already had earned the nickname “J-Train.” Lane now has that tattooed on his left arm.
The nickname was given by Sherman’s predecessor at Texas A&M, Dennis Franchione, who had used Lane as a regular ball carrier in his option offense.
Under Franchione, Lane scored 44 rushing touchdowns in three seasons as a running back in the mold of Jerome Bettis. He would leave Texas A&M holding the career record with 49 rushing touchdowns, but wasn’t used nearly as much as an offensive weapon by Sherman.
Lane reportedly was close to 300 pounds after the end of the season and that led to him not only going undrafted in 2009 but also unable to land a contract as a rookie free agent.
In fact, the only football Lane has played since his college days came in 2010 when he was a member of the West Texas Roughnecks of the Indoor Football League.
“I didn’t like it due to the fact that I really couldn’t utilize my skills,” Lane said. “I couldn’t catch out of the backfield, I couldn’t really punish people. I just couldn’t show my skills in there.”
Lane said being young was the biggest reason he didn’t get his weight under control sooner.
“People don’t realize that it’s not just, I wake up the next day I’m 20 pounds lighter, it’s a whole life-changing situation,” Lane said. “Your whole lifestyle has to change. You have to really watch what you eat, what you drink. You have to really rest. You have to work hard. You have to go through ups and downs because at times when you’re working out like that, trying to lose weight like that, the first two weeks you may drop 12, 13, 14 pounds, the next week you may drop two. Some people start to plateau, (and think) man, it’s not working anymore.
“So what I did, I had to shock my body multiple times. I had to do MMA training, I did football training, I did basketball training with my friend from back home that plays overseas now, I did cross-country track. I did multiple stuff, just to get right. But I was willing to do it. I mean, this is my dream, playing in the NFL.”
Lane also got a push from his half-brother, Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley.
“When I went to Wisconsin in October, he said, ‘I’m not going to b.s. you, the NFL is where you want to be. Nothing changed. It’s the same players you played against. You’re going to have to adjust to the speed.’ He just told me to go get it. Put the blinders on and go forward and go get it.
“That’s big motivation. Me and Jermichael grew up together, played AAU basketball together and we were unstoppable then. Right now I talk to him every other day, same thing, put the blinders on, go forward and go get it. It’s nothing different, it’s just you’re on a big-time level with everybody else. Come join the fun.”
The Dolphins have given Lane his opportunity to join the fun. They have him working at fullback, and he got some practice time with the first-team offense last week.
Lane has continued to lose weight since joining the Dolphins, dropping 19 more pounds over the past two months.
“He’s hungry,” Sherman said. “He’s got three kids. He needs a job. We’re going to see a lot of good things out of him, I hope.”
Now that he’s gotten the chance he had been longing for, Lane is planning on making the most of it.
“I love it,” he said. “There’s not a job better in the world right now. I can do this for the next 10 years.”