New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-11-25 09:56:13 –
The recent death of childhood friend Devan Bogard left a deep scar on Jack Bell.
To devote his career to becoming the best special team player in the NFL, you need a special kind of player, a special kind of person.
Meet Justin Hardee, the gunner of Jets.
Hardy (6-1, 200), who signed a three-year contract as a free agent after four seasons with New Orleans Saints, was previously listed as a wide receiver (at a university in Illinois) or defensive back. (Designated by him for a short stay in Houston, later bullied by Big Easy). But so far, in 10 games of the 2021 season, Hardy was just a special team player for Jets. That is, it has never fallen below 75% of ST Snap and should not underestimate his value.
This week he returns to Houston to confront the Texans team, who signed him as an undrafted free agent. In early December, Hardy has the opportunity to meet a former saint’s teammate.
“Sunday will be coming here soon and we’ll be able to show it in the field, so we don’t have to talk about it now,” he told team reporters Eric Allen and Leger Douzable in the latest “Official Jet Podcast.” Told. .. “Within a few weeks, I’ll be playing against other ex-teams. I’ll talk during the match. I’ll talk in the field. There’s definitely a lot to say.”
Hardy’s words and thoughts drift elsewhere during this Thanksgiving holiday while being given a chat in the field. I feel in my heart the absence of my mother, Estella Perryman, who died in 2013 at the age of 55. The pain never goes away. Now, people from Cleveland had to deal with another loss. Last month, he died in a friend’s apartment fire since 7th grade former Ohio State University DB De’van Bogard.
“Everything I do, all the decisions I make are for them,” Hardy said. “I lost my best friend a few weeks ago. It’s crazy. It’s life and reality. You have to keep pushing them. All the honor I receive is for them. They are me. Keep me positive. I can walk around sadly, but I know they don’t want it. “
For most people, holidays can be a time of memory and deep loss. Hardy said his favorite memories were simple. “The memories of spending time with my loved ones I lost were great at that time. They are the best memories, so that’s it.”
Hardy took a detour route to the jet in terms of where he played and how he ended up as one of the best gunners in the game.
“Hardee’s is probably one of the best footballs in that position,” Jets HC Robert Saleh said last month. “In addition to that, his leadership skills, prudence, veteran presence, everything he wants from a football player in terms of characters. As a gunner who is a very underrated position, and my favorite. It’s one. It represents masculinity and he’s pretty good at it. “
For coaches who usually don’t tend to exaggerate, it’s certainly a high rating. But as an undrafted free agent, Hardy knew that his road could be rocky.
“I was an aggressive guy when I joined the NFL. I didn’t play much senior years in college,” Hardy said. “The team we’re playing this week has just started as a wide receiver. There were times when I felt like I had nothing left to do. I need to throw my body there. I would be at home. The NFL has no talk. I knew I needed to support my family, so I felt it was my way. [gunners] Elite men in their position, knowing that there are only one or two per team. If I do something, I want to be the best. “
In the first two weeks with the Texans, Hardy suffered a hamstring injury, but was maintained by HC Bill O’Brien. During the summer, he worked with strength and conditioning coaches to play three pre-season matches as a special team player. The next day, he looked for an ST coach, wept, and asked what he could do to get more people.
“He was stunned and said,’It’s very professional, you’re showing hard work every day,'” Hardy said. “In the next game, we will get more people.” We moved to the penultimate team on the depth chart. Satisfied with the progress, he was impressed that I really care so much. “
When his teammates looked tired, he said he seemed to have solidified his place. “The coach looked around and said,’Hardy, get in there. Let’s get in and play.'”
Hardy added: Play differently. When the gunner and coach tell me I can show enough and sit down, the three punts are back to back. “
The euphoria didn’t last long as Hardy was cut by Houston. His agent immediately called and said that New Orleans was interested. I had only one question. Can he play defensive back?
“I say,’Yes, sign me up,'” he said. “I spent two weeks on the practice team. I got a chance in the third week after knocking. [HC] Sean Payton door. I said, “Coach, I’m grateful for everything, but I feel that what I bring to the table can benefit this team.” The coach gives me an opportunity. I make the most of it. The rest is history. “
In the ninth week of the 2017 season, Hardy blocked Bryan Anger’s punt, defeated the Buccaneers 30-10 and returned it for a touchdown, here to stay as an elite special team player. I sent a message that I am in. Played, he won the Player of the Week Award for the NFC Special Team.
“It’s all about getting the most out of everything you have, because you can appreciate the opportunity and take your breath away,” Hardy said. “It’s about being passionate about what you do and for whom you can take your game and mind to the next level. This game is very spiritual. I am every day. I am mentally prepared and try to give everything I have gained. “
However, Hardy’s thoughts and motivations ended in the death of his friend Bogard, 27, who played in Ohio and was an assistant coach at Elyria (OH) High School.
“It tells you that life is real,” Hardy said. “Someday you can leave, so live your life to the fullest and never take for granted. He [Bogard] It changed my overall view this season. This year is a tough and revival year, but I have a belief and a positive attitude. I know our head coach is planning, and I’m all working on the plan. Thanks to him I came in with a smile. I’m not down. I lost him a few weeks ago. It was hard. Just be positive and happy. “
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