St. Petersburg’s own Bernard Reedy (5’9” 175 pounds) is entering his fifth season in the National Football League. He was on the Bucs 53-man Roster last season playing in nine games for the Bucs, but was released to make room for Freddy Martino and picked up by the New England Patriots, where he appeared in two games. While his contributions have been somewhat small in the statistical category, having only registered returns in 11 games during his first four seasons, his heart and soul may be one of the biggest on the team and throughout the region.
The 2013 Toledo Grad made news last year when CNBC and other local and national media outlets reported he was working an $11/hr job in his offseason providing transportation for people who are wheelchair-bound. He also stayed behind while millions in the Tampa Bay Area along with his teammates were being evacuated in advance of Hurricane Irma to assist those same folks. That sort of perspective and view on the “bigger picture” beyond football, along with his high school and college exploits, is what has made Reedy such an endeared member of the community.
Bouncing around from practice squad to practice squad his first four seasons between Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and New England, being cut six times in the process, yet coming back ready to battle each preseason, his attitude and work ethic can be infectious; especially inside the locker room and beyond the football field. Something else that is infectious his perspective, which has been diligently shaped by a combination of his upbringing in south St. Petersburg, his time at a community-supported school such as Lakewood High School.
Speaking of those high school days, Reedy was destined for greatness before he even registered mind-blowing numbers at Toledo. He was one of the, if not THE driving force behind a resurgence for the Lakewood Spartans, who started to earn the label “Hollywood High” for their extremely entertaining style of ball a la the Los Angeles Lakers Showtime Era while he was there. Reedy’s first two seasons were the tail-end of a stretch from 2003-06 in which the Spartans were 7-33. Since his junior season in 2008 till the present time, Lakewood has gone 83-42 missing the postseason just twice in those ten years.
He earned himself an honorable mention on Florida’s 2008 All-State squad as a wide receiver, but then found himself on the 1st Team in 2009. At the time, he was the first Lakewood player since former pro Pat Carter in 2004. Reedy joins a laundry list of athletes from Lakewood that have joined him in the league since he graduated Toledo in 2014. Those guys are Jacksonville’s Dante Fowler Jr., New England’s Isaiah Wynn (both first rounders), along with Seattle’s Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin, Green Bay’s Marcus Valdez-Scantling, and Minnesota’s Rodney Adams.
Reedy finished his time at Toledo with 2,896 yards from scrimmage and 25 touchdowns, starting all four seasons for the Rockets. He averaged 14.1 yards per catch, while amassing over 2,000 yards kick returning and punt returning. Reedy averaged over 23 yards per return on kickoffs. In nine games for the Bucs last season, Reedy returned seven kickoffs for 145 yards. So far this preseason, Reedy has caught just 2 receptions, but for 24 yards, while he has 1 punt return for 12 yards.
Reedy’s familiarity with Head Coach Dirk Koetter from their time at Atlanta has kept Reedy in the mix the past few seasons. He is currently listed fourth (?) on the depth chart at wide receiver, while 3rd behind Adam Humphries and Desean Jackson at punt returner and is the backup kick returner behind Jacquizz Rogers. Reedy was on the Patriots’ active roster for the Super Bowl versus the Philadelphia Eagles but was inactive for the game. Reedy was resigned by the Buccaneers this past May the 23rd. Although Reedy is one of the last depth chart in the WR’s corps this preseason, we fully expect him to be on Tampa Bay’s 53-man roster for the regular season because of his valuable assets in the kick and punt return area on special teams.
Doug Pugh, BCP Contributor