July 31, 2011
By Matt Winkeljohn
The end of the NFL lockout ended several kinds of misery and limbo for a lot of people. Sean Bedford was/is not one of those people.
A two-time All-ACC center, Bedford knew upon graduating that his football career was almost certainly over in part because he is unnaturally small, at least for NFL linemen, after being unnaturally big the past couple seasons at Georgia Tech.
As Bedford instead converted his “One-last-hurrah-before-law-school-summer” into a combined cultural overload/final football fling, however, he thought about continuing to strap on the gear longer term.
He played in Spain, which many of you like have read or heard about. He played offensive line. He played defensive line. He played linebacker. From his descriptions, the caliber of play was maybe akin to Division III back in the NCAA, and it all got Bedford to thinking: maybe, just maybe, there’s still a way to play.
Now verging on the start of law school at the University of Florida in his hometown of Gainesville, Bedford eventually opted away from football once again but not before tinkering with the idea of trying his luck in the NFL.
“There were a few times where I thought about trying to make a team at another position, maybe fullback or H-back,” he said. “But I think I’m in a good place.”
Bedford has seen the light; he’s living it in fact.
After playing at around 285 pounds his senior season last fall, and in the 270s the season before that, he’s cut his weight to around 225, 230 pounds.
He didn’t set out with the goal of slimming down in Spain, but knew he’d lose much of the weight that he really, really had to work to gain his last few years at Tech.
Gone were the four- and five-meal days, the protein supplements etc. And gone was the weight.
“Part of it was the way we ate in Spain,” he said. “Instead of eating all-you-can eat meals and trying to pack on calories, I would eat a big lunch, small breakfast and smaller dinner. You’re burning calories during the day, and between that and still working out at a pretty intense rate . . . “
Bedford will tell you that he wouldn’t trade his college football experience, which in his case carried him (edit: he carried it) from walk-on defensive lineman to scholarship All-ACC offensive lineman: “With the opportunities that it presented me, I’m tremendously in-debt to coaching staff for giving me the opportunity.”
Yet there have been more positive payoffs in his return to physical normalcy.
“I’ve got more energy,” he said. “It’s nice to wake up in the morning and not ache as much as I did, and that was partially because of the rigors of practice. It’s nice to not ache because of carrying all that weight. My mom was definitely shocked when she saw me; she was concerned that they weren’t feeding me.
“And I was at a wedding reception with my girlfriend, and someone asked her, `Who’s the new boyfriend?’ “
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