Saints’ Justin Hardee: Better man off the field than player on it

New Orleans Saints’ defensive back Justin Hardee might be a better man off the field than he is a player on the first for himself and the community around him.

Justin Hardee was a defensive back who went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft. Shortly after, the New Orleans Saints signed Hardee to their practice squad. He was later promoted to the active roster in 2017.

In three years in the league all in New Orleans, Hardee hasn’t started a single game but played in 46 out of a possible 48 games in that three-year span. He totaled one interception, 39 tackles, and two passes defended.

It definitely hasn’t been an illustrious career for Justin Hardee in his first three seasons, but maybe his focus has been more geared toward how he conducts himself and provides off of the field than it has been his performance on the field.

Justin Hardee graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in 2017. Since then, Hardee has accrued two — yes, two — master’s degrees as well adding to the off-field accomplishments he set for himself.

His latest adventure to become a better man off of the field is to open a mid-city Papa John’s. His entrepreneur adventures are inspired by and dedicated to him late mom who couldn’t be here to see all of his accomplishments.

Hardee spoke with New Orleans media about this new business adventure. According to Amie Just from nola.com, this is what Hardee had to say about his adventures off of the field.

“Growing up, from high school and even in college, didn’t have the numbers in either one,” he said. “Was never like a highly-recruited guy. As you see for the Saints, I just pretty much had to get it out the mud, and that’s how I made it here on this level — just by always believing and just the hard work, not knowing where the hard work would ever take me. Honestly, I just did it. I always worked hard for my mom. I told her that I was going to make it in the NFL. Just to be able to be in this position and keep going, the sky is the limit.”

No matter what way you look at it, Justin Hardee has potentially been a better man off of the field than he has been playing on the field. This should be an encouragement to all NFL players. Eventually, football comes to an end.

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Some are defined by the years they played in the league; some wish to be remembered for the things they did for themselves and the community off of the field. Hardee is one of the latter. He might have no intent to quit football, but he is establishing a pretty great life outside of it.

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