New England Patriots wide receiver Bernard Reedy had no plans to unwind after the 2018 Super Bowl.
Instead, the 26-year-old elected to return to an off-season job that pays him just $11 an hour. In an interview with ESPN, the St. Petersburg, Florida, native says that when he's not on the football field he can be found working in his hometown as a driver for Car Ride, a transportation company for people in wheelchairs. He picked up the gig in 2015 after being cut by the Atlanta Falcons.
Reedy says the job has kept him grounded throughout the ups and downs of his NFL career. In 2014, he entered the league as an undrafted free agent. In four seasons he has been cut six times due to injuries or team fluctuations.
Whenever he would get discouraged by the challenges of his NFL career, Reedy tells ESPN he would think about the individuals he worked with and ask, "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."
At Car Ride, Reedy works a flexible three days a week during the off-season so he can keep up with the demands of his NFL schedule. When he was playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he opted not to hop on a flight with the rest of his teammates to escape Hurricane Irma. Instead, he stayed behind to help transport Car Ride clients to evacuation centers for individuals with special needs.
Reedy isn't the only NFL player who works hard to bring in extra cash during the off-season. During his time with the Miami Dolphins, defensive tackle A.J. Francis worked as an Uber driver, and made about $40 to $50 an hour.
"I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket," he told the New York Post after an off-season game in 2015.
Brandon Copeland of the Detroit Lions is a Wharton School graduate who has worked during the off-season as a remote analyst for Weiss Multi Strategy Advisers in New York. "He's got talent, and I know this because we'd hire him in a second when his NFL career is over," the firm's founder George Weiss told ESPN.
Reedy, who re-signed with the Patriots in January, says he feels blessed to be where he is in his career today.
"Sometimes I don't even know what to say," he says. "Just gotta kind of sit back and thank God at just [how] blessed and how fortunate I am to be in the position I'm in."
This is an updated version of a story that appeared previously.
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