For players who declare for the NFL draft, their final college season is a whirlwind. Starting with spring practices, it's pretty much nonstop football and training through the season and a bowl game, assuming their team is eligible. As soon as that's done, they hit the ground running for combine and pro day training. Then it's private workouts and meetings with teams and the stress and strain of waiting until draft day.
They don't get a chance to catch their breath after the draft, either. They head to their new city and get started with minicamps and training camp, and then preseason games and the regular season are here before they know it. They'll get a bye week, sure, but that's about the only break their bodies get in that entire interval.
For second-year players Vic Beasley and Justin Hardy, this offseason has been a welcome reprieve.
Beasley played last season with a torn labrum, and this offseason was just what his body needed to get healthy for the coming year.
"It's been great -- a little downtime to be able to recuperate and really set in what I did that first year, so it was a great learning experience for me," Beasley said.
And as far as that shoulder, sounds like it's no longer an issue.
"It feels great," Beasley said.
Having an offseason to recover from the physical grind of playing in the NFL has been a welcome reprieve for Hardy, also.
"It's definitely a good offseason," Hardy said. "Things do take time, to get your body back right. Coming from college sports straight into Combine training, you've got your workouts, things like that, you really don't get time for your body to really get back to where you want it to be, so having the offseason has been really great."
Hardy hasn't exactly been resting on his laurels this offseason. He went down to Miami for Matt Ryan's passing camp, which he said was a great experience.
"It went really good. We got a lot of guys to come out," Hardy said. "Receivers came out, running backs, quarterbacks and the DBs came, so we got some really good work down there."
While the offseason has been nice and has given Hardy and Beasley an opportunity to physically recover, not just from their first season in the NFL, but from all of the training and work that led up to it, they're ready to get back to football.
Hardy said he's looking forward to getting back out on the practice field.
"Just to get back into the routine of things, getting back with my teammates, just to get ready for a good start to this season," Hardy said.