Bobby Sewall, like many kids his age, had dreams of playing in the NFL.
Throwing the winning pass in the Super Bowl, playing in front of 50,000 people, blasting down field to catch the game-winning touchdown.
When he played for the Portsmouth Patriots from 2003-2006, he played a variety of positions on the field, and he played them well, taking the helm at quarterback and also playing as a defensive back.
The difference between NFL dreams and reality is a matter of skill and determination.
Bobby Sewall had those both in spades and, not surprisingly, he made his way to the NFL in 2010, signed as a free agent for the Tennessee Titans.
When Sewall found his rookie year later shadowed by the longest NFL lockout in history, he didn’t let all that momentum gained and years of hard work go to waste. Without access to trainers and coaches due to the lockout, the now Middletown resident hit Gaudet Field throughout the spring and summer to run drills, to stay sharp and remain focused.
That’s where Patch caught up with Sewall—to take a look back at his incredible NFL journey to date and perhaps get a glimpse of where that focus and determination may be leading this NFL free agent into the future.
2006. Portsmouth High School. Portsmouth, RI.
Among the many achievements and awards he received in high school were:
- Providence Journal's 2006 Male Scholar Athlete of the Year
- Two-time First Team All-State Football
- Three-time First Team All-Division I Football
- Golden Dozen Inductee-Top 12 Scholar/Athlete football players in RI
- Team MVP
Sewall was a two-year captain, and also the only player in a class of over 200 to letter in four sports. On the field wasn't the only place Sewall collected accolades. His academic resume included being a member of the National Honor Society, Rhode Island Honor Society, and the National Spanish Honor Society.
After graduating in 2006, Sewall had committed to play football at Brown University. Other schools coveted him, but he ultimately wanted a secure education to go along with the opportunity to play football at the well renowned Ivy League school.
Play football he did. And then some.
Sewall's college football career began in the fall of '06. As a freshman, he finished second on the team in rushes per carry. He was also a letter winner in football at the position of wide receiver. It was in his sophomore year that his college career headed straight into the stratosphere.
Fall 2007. Brown University, Providence, RI.
In his sophomore year at Brown, Sewall raised his game to another level. His sophomore accomplishments could literally fill an entire article, among the most impressive were:
He was "College Sporting News National Player of the Week" the week of 11/10/07, in which he had 18 receptions for 144 yards, 15 rushes for 141 yards, 1 pass for 41 yards and 5 total touchdowns. He was the only Division I College Football Player in 2007 to rush for 140 yards and catch for 140 yards in the same game. He was named the USA Today National Player of the Week, Rhode Island Sports Athlete of the Month in December of '07, and the Ivy League Player of the Week. Sewall also ranked 6th Nationally in Reception per game in 2007.
He didn't stop his junior and senior years at Brown, as he put his foot on the gas and floored it. Sewall was named to the "1st Team All Ivy Wide Receiver" in both his junior and senior year. It was those honors, and his incredible work ethic both on and off the field, that led him to the front door of the NFL.
March 10, 2010. Brown University Pro Day
Sewall took part in Brown Pro Day, in which NFL scouts and coaches got the chance to see #8 in action.
His 4.39/40 and 41.5 inch vertical, along with his impressive college resume caught the attention of the Tennessee Titans.
In April of that year, after graduating from Brown with a double major in economics and American history, Sewall fulfilled his childhood dream and was signed as a preferred free agent by the Titans.
When he received the phone call from the Titans he was with his family. A moment that Sewall says "felt like it was all in slow motion."
His family was ecstatic, he was ecstatic, and Sewall was now headed to Tennessee to begin his NFL career.
A moment of rarified air that few will experience in their lives.
July 2010. Nashville, Tennessee. Titans Training Camp.
When Bobby Sewall stepped onto the Titans field for the first time, it was "surreal." His focus did not waver.
"At the start of Training Camp, I felt that I had a lot to learn at the receiver position, for whatever reason, how they run things in the NFL. By the end of OTAs I was so comfortable, so ready to be a part of that team. There was no worry, no nervousness. I was out there during my last practice, you know I knew that I had all the receiver positions down. I always pride myself on being the first guy on the field and the last guy to leave. I was dialed in."
After making the cut of 75, Sewall was relieved, but knew his work was far from over. He continued to work hard, as he always has. His work ethic was rewarded with a spot on the team for the 2010 season.
Sewall’s first ever NFL catch came during practice.
"First catch ever was in practice from Vince Young on a go route. Felt awesome knowing I could still beat guys deep, even in the NFL."
Like most first year players, Sewall spent the majority of his rookie season on the sidelines, time in which he was able to be around veteran players like Vince Young and Kerry Collins. He studied the game at the professional level. He absorbed everything he could, and took that knowledge with him back to Rhode Island for the 2010 off-season.
When he returned to Aquidneck Island he was welcomed back with warm, open arms, as he always has been.
"I'm always blown away by the support I get from all of Aquidneck Island. I know that there's a huge rivalry between Portsmouth and Middletown, but this area as a whole is such a tight-knit community. I'm just so appreciative when someone says you know, a couple sentences here and there wishing me luck and stuff. It's just a great feeling."
Sewall continued to work hard, staying in shape in preparation for the upcoming 2011 season. However...
March 11, 2011. The NFL lockout begins.
During a lockout, players are not allowed to enter their respective facilities, talk to their coaches, trainers, or anything having to do with off-season activities. The NFL lockout began to stretch on. The upcoming 2011 season was in jeopardy. Sewall couldn't worry about that. He remained focused. He stayed in incredible shape, and was a regular visitor to Gaudet Field in Middletown to practice running routes, and catching passes on the state-of-the-art turf shared with Salve Regina University in Newport. All he could do was be ready, and stay ready, until the lockout ended.
"All I can do is be ready. Be as prepared as I can be."
July 25, 2011. The NFL Lockout officially ends.
After the longest work stoppage in NFL history, the players and owners agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement that will continue for the next 10 years. It also means that the 2011 preseason can begin and in fact has begun. The 2011 NFL season will start on time, with most teams opening the doors to their facilities today and throughout the rest of this week.
Speaking to Sewall about where he hopes to go from here now that the lockout has officially ended, he said:
"My hope through all this was to be as ready as I can be, and be as mentally and physically prepared as possible. During this lockout, I think I've done a good job of being ready to go at a moments notice. If a team calls me today, if they call me tomorrow, if they call me a week from now, I just know that I'm ready to go."
Sewall is a well mannered, appreciative, and flat out incredible athlete. Any NFL team will be lucky to have him. He is now free to sign with any team in the NFL, so for now, it's a waiting game. Hopefully, a waiting game that doesn't last more than a few days. From here, the only limit for Bobby Sewall is the edge of time itself.
Imagine if you will... You're five years old. You're tossing the football back and forth in the backyard to your mom, your dad, your friends, imagining you're scoring a touchdown in the "big game" when you are barely old enough to know what "the big game" is. Football at its purest form.
Now flash forward 16 years later. You're stepping onto the home field of the Tennessee Titans in Nashville Tennessee, playing professional football. You run out of the tunnel as your name is announced over the PA system in front of 70,000 cheering, screaming fans.
Many can imagine it. Few can actually say they did it. Bobby Sewall can say he did both. Proudly.