For many student-athletes, college is just a stepping stone that leads to greater things in their careers. Sometimes that logic applies to trainers like former University of Colorado director of basketball sports performance James Hardy, who moved up to the Patriots last year.
“I was over here in Coors, and when I left it was men’s basketball and lacrosse,” Hardy said. “Actually, the guy that took over the head job for the Patriots worked here for seven months, and I have a good relationship with him. When he got the head job, he called me and said he wanted to interview me, so it kind of went from there.”
For seven years, Hardy had to balance body work with the school life of all of his athletes. But when Moses Cabrera gave him a call last year, his responsibilities changed for the better.
“Going from college to pro, it’s all about focusing on winning the game, where college is a lot of things you’re focused on,” Hardy said. “There’s a lot of different aspects that you have to be aware of.
“We’re not worried about class schedules there, and that’s just the nature of college athletics. It’s great. They’re here to get an education. There, it’s like you’re focused on here’s when practice is, here’s when the game is. That’s their entire lifestyle and that’s really their livelihood and our livelihood.”
Despite the change, Hardy said he never expected his first season at the professional level to turn out so successfully.
“The Super Bowl was just a totally different animal. There’s a lot of pressure there, but it was fun. The whole game, it was just a wild game.” Hardy said. “I don’t even remember to be honest with you.
“I think I was in a daze the whole time because when you’re in that situation, you’re just focused on what’s going on. I don’t even know if I heard the crowd the whole game, like you’re just so focused on this is what’s going on, this is what we have to do.”
The company, he said, isn’t half bad either.
“(Coach Bill Belichick) is great. I love him. I like everybody there,” Hardy said. “It’s also hard to complain. I’ve been in the NFL for one year and we won a Super Bowl. It certainly wasn’t because of me. I’m very fortunate and very blessed to be where I am.”
After his first ultra-successful NFL season, Hardy said he’s excited to see where the rest of his career will take him.
“It was a whirlwind for me,” Hardy said. “I mean this is my first season in it. Everybody asked, ‘Was it what you expected?’ No, it wasn’t what I expected, because I don’t know what I was expecting.”