Here’s the second part of an interview with former Georgia Tech center Sean Bedford, who returned last week from a six-month stay in Europe, mostly spent playing football in a league in Spain (link from an excellent story by colleague Doug Roberson).
Here’s the link to Monday’s blog, in which he spoke highly of his successor Jay Finch. Some other notes from Bedford:
1. He said he felt optimistic going into the 2010 season because of the talent level and the hard work that had been put in over the summer. However, he said, “I think there may have been some sense of entitlement that came with what we accomplished [in 2009]. A lot of guys felt that maybe because they played a certain role the year before, that was something they were entitled to retain. I don’t know that the team attitude was there quite as much as it should have been.”
As a result, the team didn’t handle itself well in the face of trial.
“Two years ago, when the breaks went against us, we didn’t look for excuses,” he said. “We knew we were going to win the game. It was how we were going to do it and correct the problems from there. Last year, I got the impression more that, when something went wrong, people started to look for excuses and looked for ways to wash their hands of the situation.”
2. While in Spain, his weight dropped from a high of 285 pounds at Tech to 215. He said the Spanish custom of eating a large meal at lunch and less at breakfast and dinner helped him melt off pounds.
“I definitely feel different,” he said. “It was nice being able to run around again. I felt a little bit like I did in high school.”
After his European tour, particularly the legs in Italy and Germany, he put on 10 pounds and he’s now around 225. His lighter weight enabled him to play defensive end and linebacker as well as offensive line for his team, Los Osos Rivas. Bedford came to Tech as a walk-on defensive lineman.
“The caliber of lineman in Spain isn’t quite what it was here,” Bedford said. “I had a lot of fun chasing quarterbacks.”
When he wasn’t practicing – practices were held 9 to 11 p.m. to accommodate teammates who worked full-time – Bedford was an English tutor, studied Spanish and did a lot of reading. He put away Moby Dick among other classics. While being free of Tech’s academic rigors, he was hoping to not let his brain atrophy before law school.
“Between being immersed in history everywhere in Europe and taking the time to catch up on my reading, I hope I managed to avoid doing that,” he said.
3. A visit to Tech last week led to some reminiscing and the realization that his career is over. He said he won’t miss being 60 pounds over his natural weight, but there’ll be plenty he’s sad to leave behind.
“I talked to some of the old coaches and other guys in the locker room,” he said. “It hit me that I’m not going to get getting ready to play this season, I’m not going to be standing in the huddle looking at all the faces around me. It did occur to me I’m going to miss and experience what I’ll experience sitting in the stands.”
His visit (he spoke with offensive line coach Mike Sewak and quarterbacks/B-backs coach Brian Bohannon, among others) left him encouraged about the season ahead.
“I think they’re going to learn from the mistakes we made last year,” Bedford said. “I think there’s a lot of reason for optimism with this team.”
4. Among former teammates he keeps in touch with regularly are guard Will Jackson and former tackle Nick Claytor, who left Tech after his junior season but went undrafted in April. With the lockout preventing teams from signing undrafted players, Claytor has been taking classes at Tech.
“He seems to be doing O.K.,” Bedford said. “I think he’s going to come out of this O.K.”
5. Bedford will enroll in the fall in law school at the University of Florida with the idea of studying patent and intellectual property law. He studied aerospace engineering on top of football at Tech, but doesn’t expect it to be any less difficult.
“If Georgia Tech helped in one thing, it’s not to fall in the trap of thinking something is going to be easier than it’s going to be,” he said. “I’m trying to take the cautious approach.”
That said, he plans to make it back to Atlanta to attend Jackets games and tailgate with his father Dean as much as his schedule allows.
Said Bedford, “I love Georgia Tech as much as any person I know.”