Heels in the Pro’s: Gio Bernard is doing it the right way

Giovani Bernard (Heels in the Pro's)

Giovani Bernard (Heels in the Pro’s)

Maybe it’s because he was not picked in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. Probably because he is a Tar Heel, actually no probably about it. But when I read stories like the one about Giovani Bernard and his beginning in Pro Football it makes you kind of smile, especially just being overloaded by the ‘roids epidemic in the MLB and the “did he get paid to sign” of Johnny Football and so many other stories about bad things being associated with sports.

From an article I read a while back it seems that the Cincinnati Bengals rookie is driving his girlfriend’s mom’s van to and from practice. Now, that to me, having watched athletes being put higher and higher on pedestals each moment of their career, is totally refreshing.

Mind you, Bernard is not a non drafted free agent walking into a team with almost no chance of making the cut. He was a second round selection by the Bengals, and signed a $5.253 million contract with a $2.2 million signing bonus. And while I am sure that the former UNC football star is not the only one to have done thing his first year in the National Football League, he is without a doubt in the minority, if not close to unique in his ways.

“It’s a car that gets me from point A to point B,” Bernard said, as part of an interview series for Gillette deodorant’s “Built for Training” program seen on NFL.com. “It’s definitely good on gas.”

How many times do we hear about players getting so much more than an average salary would be for a regular person but ending up with barely anything once their sports careers are over? Well, it seems that the former Tar Heel is not going to ride that road. But it seems he is riding another road.

As I said before, the young star was not picked in the first round of this year’s draft, but he was the first running back off the big board. And it seems to be paying off for the Cinci franchise, as the running back is doing all that the coaches expected and then some.

He’s not afraid. He may not run over people like Adrian Peterson but he’ll make some people miss. He’s hard to find in there,” offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said in Bengals.com “Sometimes those smaller backs get in there and they get low and linebackers and safeties can’t find them. They pop out the back door.”

Some of the criticisms about the back was that at 5’10″/205 lbs he could not be much more than a specialized back. But Giovani Bernard is making a lot of people dismiss that notion quickly. Just like his girlfriend’s mom minivan, the back that brought RB U back to Chapel Hill is marching to his own rhythm. Soon enough most of pro football will know exactly what is sounds like.

While most people believe that he will not get much of the carries once the season begins, the way I see it, he has done all the right way so far, if he continues, sooner or later Bernard’s turn will come up. And I am pretty certain that when it does he will be ready for it.

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