Falcons' Reedy is ready to pursue dream

"It's a crime that the kid didn't get drafted," one Toledo coach said of Bernard Reedy. AP Photo/David Goldman

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Atlanta Falcons rookie Bernard Reedy is still waiting for his NFL career to take off, but his acting career has launched -- sort of.

Before minicamp concluded in mid-June, the diminutive, undrafted receiver from Toledo was summoned by "the skinny white guy who always wears sunglasses" -- better known as football communications coordinator Matt Haley -- for a video session with the crew from HBO's "Hard Knocks."

"I think they said they're going to have me 'mic'd' like two times a week," Reedy said of the Falcons' upcoming training camp documentary. "They had me go in there and do a little commercial thing with the previews and spray the water all over your face. It was some sticky stuff where they made you close your eyes, and [then] you've got to look up at the camera like you're mad.

"That was my first time trying to act. It took like, 10, 15 minutes. I think they said your head turns into a football or something, so you've got to turn this way and then turn that way. And they put this green screen behind you. It was fun."

The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Reedy made the offseason much more entertaining, even without props. His explosive cuts and nifty deep-ball catches impressed Falcons coaches and left some teammates in awe. His 4.39 speed in the 40 was clearly evident.

Reedy, however, has an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster. Julio Jones and Roddy White will lead an established receiving corps into Friday's opening day of camp.

"It's a crime that the kid didn't get drafted," Toledo offensive coordinator Jason Candle said of Reedy. "Obviously, folks have their specs in what they want, size-wise and speed-wise. ... But this kid has an unbreakable mindset about him. He's always risen to the occasion. The moment is never too big for him."

If "Hard Knocks" decides to make Reedy one of the featured characters, he'll have a compelling story to tell.

Ask him about what motivated him to excel as a football player while growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Reedy will tell you about the friendly competition with his older sister.

Innekia Reedy was the flag football co-athlete of the year for Pinellas County in 2007. She averaged 100 rushing yards and three sacks per game during her senior year at Lakewood High School.

"I think she was the best flag football player in the nation," Reedy boasted. "She played running back, quarterback -- you know, put the athlete anywhere. She's fast."

Reedy also attended Lakewood and was the county player of the year as a running back in 2009. He rushed for 1,211 yards and scored 36 touchdowns. But his sister, who briefly played small-school college basketball, has never shied away from claiming bragging rights.

"She was [always] claiming that she was better than me, faster than me," Reedy said.

Ask Reedy about his other sibling and he'll tell you his half-brother, Dominique Flowers, has been in and out of prison for a majority of his adult life.

"He's a street dude," Reedy said. "He's been slinging [drugs]. He's out now. Is he still drug-dealing? I don't know."

"He's not allowed to drive because he has no license," Reedy said of his brother. "So I'll go pick him up and then we'll go do something. He went jet-skiing with me this summer. He was just amazed. I was like, 'This is what it looks like when you get out of the house.'"

Reedy grew up in an undesirable neighborhood on the south side of St. Petersburg. He elected to meet at a restaurant in a "nicer" area of town to be interviewed for this story, to avert any violence near his home.

"Ever since I've been growing up, the crime rate has been crazy," he said.

Reedy had a few run-ins with the law as a teen. St. Petersburg police confirmed he had been stopped in the past for illegally riding his dirt bike on the street.

"I didn't think it was no harm," Reedy said. "I knew [it was wrong], but it's not like I was running any red lights."

Sports gave Reedy the green light to do something more with his life and possibly achieve an NFL dream. Ask him why he didn't get drafted and he’ll shrug his shoulders. He has grown accustomed to being overlooked: Despite gaudy numbers in high school, his only two college choices were Toledo and Western Kentucky.

As a junior at Toledo, Reedy ranked sixth in the nation in all-purpose yards per game (174.7). He didn't have the type of senior season he had hoped for, but he thought he was good enough to be drafted.

Reedy figured he was on his way after a strong showing in East-West Shrine game practices and scoring a touchdown in the annual all-star game, played in St. Petersburg. Then he started generating interest from two NFL teams in particular, Houston and Oakland.

"The Raiders talked to me for like two hours," Reedy said. "And they were just saying how important the [East-West Shrine] practices were. And [later] I was like, 'If they were that important, I should have went the first round.'

"I thought I was going to the Texans, especially after my pro day. They had me working outside, inside and catching punts. And then they called Coach Candle about me."

Regardless, Reedy didn't get drafted. Thirty-three receivers did.

"I'm thinking all these receivers that they're taking, I just played with these guys," Reedy said. "One of the guys who got drafted, he broke his finger in the East-West practices and didn't even practice. I mean, I don't knock anybody, but I've seen talent before."

Some of that talent came from St. Petersburg. Former Lakewood standout Louis Murphy, now a receiver with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, mentored Reedy and helped him during the lead-up to the draft.

"I wasn't trusting none of the agents at first, so Murph paid for me to train," Reedy said. "And he paid for my housing. He used to come to my little league games and my high school games. Of course I look up to him."

Murphy had no problem lending a hand.

"I wanted to look out for him," he said. "I just feel like it's my duty, as a guy who made it out of St. Petersburg, to give advice or always be accessible."

Perhaps Murphy and Reedy will meet again when the Falcons and Buccaneers battle Sept. 18 at the Georgia Dome.

Reedy realizes he has to make quite an impression during training camp to stick. But his opening act this offseason was nothing short of spectacular.