MIKE O'HARA

Dominic Raiola is entering his 13th season in a bigger way

Posted Jun 11, 2013

Raiola has always been one of the NFL's lightest centers and entered the offseason with a goal to add weight, now he's up to 310 pounds

Dominic Raiola is getting ready for his 13th season as the Lions' center in a bigger way than ever.

Dominic RaiolaC Dominic Raiola

Raiola had an offseason goal to add weight, and he's up to to 310 pounds. Raiola has always been one of the NFL's lightest centers, with his weight listed at 295 pounds.

The extra weight is noticeable on Raiola, and there is no excess baggage.

Raiola is thicker in the neck and shoulders and broader across the chest. Without saying so, Raiola is making a statement that if anyone tries to push him out of a job, they're going to meet resistance.

"I figured if I can still move and run around, a little extra weight is only going to help me – help me in everything," Raiola said after Tuesday's mini-camp practice.

Raiola, 34, added weight by changing his diet and adjusting his weight training program.

"I was eating and lifting – eating good stuff," Raiola said. "Doing different stuff in the weight room. I didn't want to put it on in a bad way.

"If you have a plan, you can put on weight. As long as I can carry it, move around, still be fleet on my feet, weight's only going to help."

The Lions are undergoing a major renovation from last year. Left guard Rob Sims and Raiola are the only returning starters. Left tackle Jeff Backus retired. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus signed with Indianapolis as a free agent. Right guard Stephen Peterman was released.

For the first time since he became a full-time starter in 2002, his second season as a Lion, Raiola is facing legitimate competition. Last year the Lions claimed Bill Nagy on waivers from Dallas. However, Nagy still is recovering from an ankle injury sustained in training camp with Dallas last year and has not participated in any team drills.

Earlier this year, Raiola took a substantial cut in his base salary – from the $4.1 million originally due in the last year of his contract to the veteran minimum of $950,000.

He has played 188 games and will reach the 200 mark in the 12th game of this season. He has 172 starts, which puts him a little more than a season and a half away from hitting the 200 mark in that category.

Raiola says he has had no negative reaction from the extra weight, but if he does, he has plenty of time to shed pounds before the season starts.

"I could lose weight in no time," he said. "So far, everything has stayed on."