No Super Bowl week would be complete without some feel good stories about players stuck in the background, and (duh) this year is no different.
On Friday, ESPN ran a piece about a player you almost certainly have never heard of, wide receiver Bernard Reedy, a 26-year-old Patriots player who has been cut six times over the past three-and-a-half years. To add more detail to that, he was out of football in 2015, rehabbed a knee injury in 2016, and was released by the Bucs this past November. Not surprisingly, because of that career volatility, Reedy also has an offseason job where he drives around people who are confined to wheelchairs.
Reedy, an undrafted free agent out of Toledo, got his $11/hour job driving for Care Ride (which provides transport to people with terminal illnesses, in addition to people recovering from organ transplants, amputations, heart attacks, strokes and serious accidents) in 2015 after he was axed by the Falcons.
As noted by ESPN, the journeyman has returned to Care Ride every offseason since then (and also after each of the half dozen times he's been cut). As you might expect, being their driver has altered his outlook on what's important.
"I used to think about a lot of the people I would pick up and the situations that they [were] in and the stories I heard. Some of the stories, the normal average person wouldn't believe, but that stuff's true," he told ESPN. "It's just ironic that I've had a job like that in the situation that I was in. To be around positivity and listen to people go through what I went through—I went through it sports-wise and they went through it in life. It was tough to want to play and to want to be on somebody's team and [I] just [didn't] get the break yet, but I also thought, 'What about the people on life support? What about the people who can't walk that want to walk again?' That stuff's way more serious than running around and playing football."
The story goes on to talk about how Reedy stayed in his hometown St. Petersburg when Hurricane Irma hit Florida this past September to get those in need to evacuation shelters. It also included the rare complimentary quote from perpetually ornery coach Bill Belichick.
"He’s a great kid," the longtime Pats sideline general said. "He’s been on and off our roster in a couple different roles—from practice squad to active roster, returning kicks, playing receiver and so forth. He’s a great kid, works hard, he tries to do everything we’ve asked. He’s trying to continue to develop his career and build off what he did in Tampa. Our situation is what it is—sometimes we’ve been able to have an opportunity for him, sometimes we haven’t. But it’s never stopped him from working hard and doing everything he can for himself or try to help our punt team or defensive team prepare for what the opponents are doing. So we’ll see how it goes."
While up to this point Reedy has undoubtedly had a career perfect for Hard Knocks drama, he is under contract with New England through next season. Despite that he plans on working at Care Ride within two weeks of this Sunday's Super Bowl. "As soon as our offseason officially starts," Reedy says. "I'll be back at Care Ride when I'm able to. The work don't stop. Everybody still needs help."
Go check it out over at ESPN when you got a moment.