Catching Up With Steve Herndon

Rusty Mansell sits down with former Georgia Bulldog Steve Herndon.

After spending 6 years in the NFL (four in Denver; two in Atlanta) and five years at the University of Georgia, Rusty Mansell recently caught up with Steve Herndon and talked about his playing days and his current life.

What schools offered you and when did you decide on Georgia?
Steve Herndon: All the schools in the south pretty much offered me. There were some schools up north and out west that offered also. You know I was going to Florida. I had committed to them, but I also set up official visits to other schools. I visited Clemson, Florida, Georgia and also took one to Purdue just because they had recruited me so long. I was one of those guys that said no matter what I am going to take all my visits. Paul Snellings, one of my high school teammates, was already at UGA, but I wanted to go on my own and do my own thing. I took my visit to Georgia and everything just felt right. Coach Joe Kines came to my house and sat in my living room and told me " there is nothing like playing for your state school" and for me that was really true. That statement stuck with me.

Who was the best player you went against at Georgia and the player from another team that you thought was really tough?
When I was at Georgia you could look at the two deep depth chart-- almost 90% of those guys played in the league at some time. We had Seymour, Stroud, Antonio Cochran, Charles Grant and even Brandon Miller who played a couple of years in the league. I mean you could go on and on. The one guy for me at Georgia was Richard Seymour. We had some daily battles that made us both players in the long run. As far as in the games, there was one guy that I will always remember playing against and that was Booger McFarland at LSU. That was the only sack I gave up my junior or senior year, but he was a beast. He took turns going down our line and giving us all fits. Poor Quincy was running for his life that night.

You played with Mike Bobo, and now he is coaching at Georgia. What do you remember about him?
When I think about Bobo, I think about the Outback Bowl his senior year. Bobo is a leader plain and simple. You know Bobo always gave me a hard time, but I appreciate it now. He was always pushing guys. It didn't matter if you were an All American or 3rd string walk on, he would tell you exactly what he thought and what you needed to hear. He made me a better player in the long run. He didn't sugar coat anything. Without Bobo who knows where I would have been.

What was the immediate difference in the NFL vs. college?
Guys being so big and so fast and having all the tools. Trevor Pryce comes to mind out in Denver. His nickname was the crane; this guy could pick you up by the seat of your pants and throw you out of the way with one hand. It was a shock for a while. Adam Meadows once told me that football was 90% mental, and that is so true. Everybody is so good--it is the mental part that separates the ones that make it from the ones that do not.

What was the biggest win of your career? High School, college or pro?
Wow, that is a tough one. You know probably beating the Gators in 1997. We came into that game on a losing streak against them and a three-touchdown underdog. It was extra special to me, especially since I was once committed to them. I was glad for our seniors like Robert Edwards and Mike Bobo that we finally stopped the streak.

Watching Georgia now and the product that Mark Richt puts on the field. What do you think about them?
I truly admire Coach Richt and what he stands for. I tell people all the time, not just because I am a Bulldawg, but what he really is. I hope one day to have a son that will be lucky enough to play for him. I know that he would learn how to play football, but to also be a man. At the end of the day that is what it is all about anyway. Football is just a blip on the screen.

You grew up with Bubba Sparxx and have been best friends since middle school. What was that like watching him on MTV and hearing him on the radio?
Herndon: It was truly amazing to watch my best friend from LaGrange, Georgia hit the big time. When his first album broke it was my first year in the league so we kind of grew up together that year. It was nuts that two of us from LaGrange that had been best friends for so long were living our dreams together at the same time.

Steve, what are you doing these days?
Herndon: I work at a sober living house with about 70 beds for male and female. The name of the company is 3rd Step Recovery. What we do is help people that are coming out of treatment, and they come live with us for 6 months. We help them to adjust to real world again. These people have made the choice to get help, and I love the fact that I have been blessed enough to be there to help them.

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