Buccaneers wide receiver earns $11 an hour in offseason job that helps others
Bernard Reedy knows it's important to have a fallback plan if the NFL doesn't work out
Save the occasional endorsement appearance or perhaps a charity event, NFL players usually don't spend their offseasons working. That's one of the fringe benefits to earning seven- to eight-figure annual salaries.
But for players like Bernard Reedy, a former undrafted free agent who has never earned more than the $108,600 he made in 2014 as a member of the Falcons' practice squad, an offseason job is something of a necessity.
"The money in your savings is only going to last so long. I had to go out and get a job so I could continue to live," Reedy told ESPN.com's Jenna Laine. "You want to always have something you fall back on. If you don't work, you don't have any more income, so it's just decreasing. You've gotta go find a way to make some money."
But this isn't your garden-variety part-time gig. For $11 an hour, Reedy, 25, works as a driver for Care Ride, a Tampa-area company that provides transportation for people in wheelchairs. Drivers receive special training and are first-aid and CPR certified.
Reedy wasn't on an NFL roster during the 2015 season and spent the fall and winter working eight hours a day, five days a week for Care Ride. He signed with the Buccaneers in February 2016, suffered a knee injury during the preseason and was waived/injured. He landed on the Bucs' practice squad in December, and through it all he has continued to work for Car Ride, which has accommodated his football schedule based on the time of year.
"All my other teammates that I know that I personally talk to, they all caked up -- they all got money, a whole lot of money," explains Reedy, who is on the books for $465,000 in 2017, but it's not all guaranteed. "When I get to that tax bracket with them, I'm going to continue to work here during the offseason. ... You always want to be grateful."
And what about after Reedy's professional football career?
"I could still see me doing this [after football]. I'm financially stable enough now that I could be OK if I didn't do this, but why sit home after you're done working out, going over your plays and stuff? Why sit home when you can come out and make you some more money and help people on top of that? And I'm talking about really helping people, helping people who can't help themselves."
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