Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Where are they now - Derrick Shepard

Did you know there was an AF2? That would be Arena Football 2. I guess the minor leagues to the minor leagues. Salary - $200 per week, $250 if you win. The former GT lineman still loves the game - story here.

Lineman Derrick Shepard, who spent time in two National Football League preseason camps after his days at Georgia Tech, has played in af2 all five seasons of the league's existence. This time of year his only job is football, but he makes up for it in the off-season by working two jobs in his native Ohio. One of them is in undercover security at a clothing store — no mean feat for a man who weighs 330 pounds (a size-66) and emits a laugh that would register on the Richter scale.

Ask Shepard what keeps him playing football, and he replies with a four-letter word: love.

"What keeps a lot of people coming back is the love for the game," he said. "Any time you can get paid for doing something that you grew up loving, it's good to do.

"Even though we get paid $200 — $250 if we win — it's still considered a job. Anything that you can get paid for, you're still considered a professional."