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Story Behind the Picture: Sewall Swag

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iowa1 - Copy If there's anyone I know that deserves to have the word swag attached to their name, its Bobby Sewall. The Brown graduate spent time in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans and the AFL with the Jacksonville Sharks. But more than his accomplishments on field is the legacy he leaves in Jacksonville. So what exactly is "Sewall Swag," and how does one attain it? I asked some people who knew Bobby when he played for the Sharks what the first word that came to their mind was when they heard his name, and I got a variety of answers. Some of those responses were competitor, determined, genuine, and classy.

As a rookie in the AFL, Sewall had an impressive season in 2012. He played in 13 games where he racked up 52 receptions for almost 700 yards. He also scored 12 touchdowns throughout the season. On the defensive side of the ball, Sewall had eight solo tackles. Sewall was also ranked fourth in all purpose yards with 713. If that doesn't describe a competitor who's willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win, the next story will.

I was finally able to make my way down to a seat to watch the game after finishing group raffles for the night. Of course I had missed some of the best plays of the game, but I knew there was a whole lot of football left. I watched as Sharks were getting tore up by the turf field they play on, and by the opposing team, who was fighting just has hard to win. I look over to the player bench area, where the majority of the offense was hanging out and Sewall's arms are covered in blood. I'm going to leave out any more of those details because it was nasty. But, as soon as I'm about to ask what had happened, a trainer is wrapping and bandaging Sewall's battle scars and it's back out onto the field for #5 to finish what he started. There is an inner warrior inside of Sewall that comes out when he steps onto a football field. Competitor.

There were days after practice where Sewall would post on his fan page on facebook about how well practice went, and how the team was ready to take the field Saturday night. What's better than this was the fact that after team practice was over, Sewall took it upon himself to better his craft. Being on a team with some big name wide receivers, he knew starting the game was going to be a great challenge. Sewall accepted the challenge with open arms and embraced adversity that had been placed in front of him, and got the starting job six times! Determined.

If you have ever gotten the opportunity to hang out with Sewall and have a conversation with him that has nothing to do with football, it's incredibly refreshing to see someone as sincere as him. I got the opportunity to interview him for a paper on leadership, and what an awesome opportunity. Not once during the whole interview did Sewall ever mention his abilities were because of his doing. He credited not only his parents, but God in almost every answer. There is always something about an athlete who gets IT. By "it" I mean that his abilities and opportunities are not something to be taken lightly because there are a ton of other people who would kill to have what they have. Sewall gets IT, in all forms, on every level, on and off the football field. Genuine.

Watching football can bring out the worst in someone, especially if their team is losing. Could you imagine being on the other side of the TV screen, and actually being one of those players fighting for a win at the huge division rivalry game? Let's say you lost that game. While most players would come out of the locker room with an "I hate the world, I don't have time for you, I just want to go home" attitude, with Sewall that was never portrayed. He always had a smile on his face and a Sharpie in his hand ready to take pictures and sign anything someone would give him. Never once did I hear Sewall complain about anything. He took in everything with humility and respect, even if it wasn't the outcome he wanted. Greater than any of this, Sewall was one of the first players to walk onto the field and one of the last to ever leave at night. Class.

Bobby Sewall was the guy I ALWAYS had to see after every game, bloody-bandaged arms and all. I don't think there was ever a game that I wasn't fighting my way through bunches of small children to say, "Hey, great game, if you need anything this week let me know, I love you."

Every once in a while I think of Sewall and send him a text reminding him of the same things I told him after every game. Though he isn't playing football this season, the message still stands: I got your back, even though you live thousands of miles from Jacksonville, and I love you. That will never change.