“He’s gained some weight but our weight room coaches have done a good job of getting him into shape,” OSU senior linebacker Manase Hungalu said Wednesday at Pac-12 Media Days.
Tyner is listed at 232 pounds on OSU's website, up 17 from the 215 he played at for the Ducks before his 2015 ended following preseason shoulder surgery.
“Thomas is a great addition,” junior RB Ryan Nall said. “He’s got to be back into the flow of things. It’s kind of hard after being out of the game for two years and jumping back in.”
Tyner is not carrying blubber, according to Nall. The former Aloha High School star has simply bulked up beyond the ideal weight for him to take advantage of his speed that made him a 6A champion in the 100 meters while at Aloha. Nall said Tyner definitely appeared to be a bit rusty and slow during the team's first practice this earlier week.
“But he’s still got it," Nall said. "Once he chips that rust off and gets back into it, I think he’ll do good things for us.”
Tyner played at Oregon in 2013 and 2014 before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery prior to the 2015 season. Rather than return to the Ducks in 2016, Tyner elected to retire. Now he's got the itch to return to the field. The way his medical retirement was written didn't allow for him to return to Oregon. Tyner had considered going to OSU out of high school so heading to the Beavers was a natural fit.
"I definitely missed it," Tyner told reporters Tuesday in Corvallis. "I think it's just more excited than anything. I'm excited to get to play this season."
Hungalu said he definitely saw flashes of the old Tyner during that first practice.
“He did a good job running the ball,” Hungalu said. “He looked how he looked at Oregon, which is a good thing for us.”
It will be interesting to see how Tyner fits in. He had a productive career at UO but Nall is the man for the Beavers.
Tyner said he expects to learn a lot from Nall in terms of operating within the Beavers' offense. For Tyner, returning is more about erasing the prospects of always wondering what he could have done next on the football field than it is about being the guy.
"Once you're about ready to be done with school and you have to figure out what you want to do with your life and I don't like living with 'what ifs," he said. "I felt like the 'what if' was football with me. I didn't want to go out how I did, medically retiring. I felt like I owed it to myself."