Every morning after his final year at Toledo, Bernard Reedy would wake up to the sound of his cell phone alarm. His eyes foggy and his head groggy, he'd get out of bed and look at the phone to disable the alarm.
Greeting him, staring him right in the face to start his day, was his NFL.com draft prospect grade.
Out of a possible 10, Reedy was given a 4.82, a paltry number that didn't exactly bode well for the NFL hopeful's future as a professional football player. Still, he woke up every day, looking that grade in the face and using it to fuel the work that was ahead.
"I screenshotted it and saved it as my lock screen for my phone," Reedy said after Wednesday's session of Falcons minicamp. "That gets my day started every day. Every morning, I'd click the top of the phone, look at it — 'Time to go.' "
The Falcons hit the practice fields for day two of veteran minicamp on Wednesday afternoon. Minicamp was open to the public for the day for fans who wanted to get a glimpse of the action.
The work and the motivation appears to be paying off as the Falcons get ready to wrap up veteran minicamp and have about a four-week break until training camp begins. Reedy has stood out among his 88 fellow teammates during two days of work and it's done him well.
His speed is what you might notice first. On Day 1 of veteran minicamp, Reedy was burning cornerbacks and safeties, getting two, maybe three steps behind them on several deep passes from Matt Ryan and Dominique Davis. On Wednesday, there was much more respect for the undrafted wide receiver from the secondary as Kemal Ishmael, who was beaten by Reedy a day earlier, was able to keep pace with him.
But it wouldn't last long as Reedy wrapped up Wednesday's practice by scoring on a long pass during team period, his speed being the great advantage on the play as no one could keep up with him.
"He's fast," said head coach Mike Smith with a sigh of awe. "He's fast and he can make up a lot of ground for a small guy. I think he's helped himself immensely (during minicamp). I think it's going to be very competitive when you start talking about who's going to be 5 and 6 at the wide receiver position."
The "small guy" tag is something that Reedy has struggled to shake since ninth grade, he said. His 5-foot-9 listing on the Falcons roster might be generous, but regardless of what the numbers are, he doesn't let it hold him back.
At Toledo, he was a first-team All-MAC selection at receiver, kick returner and punt returner while scoring 23 touchdowns in his career there. His resume includes MVP awards from the 2012 Idaho Potato Bowl and the 2011 Military Bowl. Yet, all that and he still never got an invite to the NFL Combine, didn't get drafted and inspired folks in Flowery Branch during practices to say "Who is that?" when they saw No. 89 blaze down the field.
It's left him with something to prove, the former Rockets star said, and he's doing it during minicamp by showing off that 4.52 40-yard speed despite his size.
Reedy has looked around the Falcons locker room and found himself eye-to-eye with more players than he probably thought. Mainstays like Antone Smith, Jacquizz Rodgers, Robert McClain and newcomers like Javier Arenas and Josh Wilson aren't exactly stretching the tape measures much past the 5-foot-10 range, and Reedy has been watching all of them intently.
They're serving as even more inspiration as they're living proof that players his size can make an impact in the NFL. You never know. Maybe there will soon be a photo of them as his new phone lock screen.
"All those players are very hard workers," Reedy said. "I see that, if you're not as tall as everyone else, you maybe have to do a little extra."