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Breida is living the dream on the West Coast

June 02, 2017

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For four years Matt Breida was secretly one of the most effective running backs in college football and become one of the more popular players in the history of Georgia Southern’s football program. Now, Breida has taken his talents to the west coast to try and fulfill his dream by making an NFL roster with the San Francisco 49ers. I checked in on him to see how he wound up in the bay area.


CS: I hate to bring up last season, but are there any sour feelings about how your senior year turned out?


MB: It’s all bygones. I don't look at it like that. I think God had a plan for me. Who knows, I could have gotten hurt or something else could have happened to slow me down.


CS: That takes a big person to think of it that way. I’ll readily admit I would have a hard time not having hard feelings.


MB: Yeah, but for me I’m just focused on the now. I’m blessed to be where I am right now.


CS: I’d say so, you didn’t even get an invite to the NFL combine. Surely after your junior year you were expecting at least a call.


MB: To be honest with you I was expecting an invite. Especially after my sophomore and junior years when I led the country in yards per carry.


CS: So I’m sure that made the chip on your shoulder even bigger than it already was.


MB: For sure, all it meant is that I was going to have to work that much harder at my pro day to earn those calls.


CS: I’d say it paid off, didn’t you run a 4.4 40 yard dash at the pro day?


MB: Actually I ran a 4.36.


CS: Oh well excuse me sir.


MB: (Laughs) Well, it felt great to show up like that either way. After my pro day leading up to the draft I had 17 calls.


CS: 17? Matt that’s half the league!


MB: Yeah it was pretty overwhelming.


CS: You’re already a humble guy, how much more humbled can you get?


MB: You gotta stay calm, cool and collected. I can get a big head saying I have 17 teams calling me, but I can’t let that get in the way of why I’m working towards this goal. I’m here to win a Super Bowl, no matter who the team is with.


CS: Is there a team you really wanted to go to? Like who did you root for growing up?


MB: I was an Eagles fan as a kid.


CS: Eagles? I thought you grew up in Florida?


MB: I did, but I have a lot of family in Pennsylvania so I grew up watching Eagles games with my family.


CS: Did they call you?


MB: Yeah I had an interview with them.


CS: That had to make 10-year-old Matt excited huh?


MB: Oh for sure. I’ve wanted to play in the league since I was little and if was with the Eagles it would have been perfect. But I’m happy out here now, and like I said earlier it wouldn’t have mattered who I went with. I just want to play.


CS: So how did the 49ers woo you, considering that is the team you wound up with?


MB: On day two of the draft, I got a call from the running back’s coach. He started asking me different questions about my pro day and last season. He really liked that I took full responsibility for my drop in production last season.


CS: So what happened on day three?  


MB: On day three, they called me back. The 49ers had already taken a running back (Joe Williams, Utah) but they assured me that was fine because coach (Kyle) Shannahan uses a two-back system like in Atlanta. All they did was let me know how high they were on me.


CS: Did any other teams pursue you in that manner?


MB: Before the draft the Jets did too. I talked to around four or five different guys with their staff, but as the draft went on they kind of fell off. Even after Baltimore and Tennessee had made offers for me, it was clear the 49er’s wanted me most.  


CS: Did you ever think you’d wind up on the west coast after everything you’ve been through at Southern?


MB: It was one of the last places I would expect. Me and my fiancée were talking about it like “Wouldn’t it be crazy if we wound up in California?” I’m an east coast guy after all with all of my family being out there. But like I said I’m just happy to be out here.


CS: I mean everyone says the bay area is awesome. Has it lived up to the word of mouth reputation?


MB: It’s been awesome. The weather is great, the 49ers are loved here and the sports culture as a whole is great. Not to mention the people here are really friendly.


CS: So I’m curious… is San Francisco really as expensive as people say it is?


MB: I would say so. I called and wanted to order a pizza and two larges were $41.


CS: Matt! $41 for two pizzas? That’s stupid.


MB: Oh it’s ridiculous for sure. But once you're playing in the NFL those aren’t really things you worry about.


CS: Are there any other adjustments you’ve had to make to the west coast lifestyle?


MB: The biggest thing is the time, it goes so much slower. We’re here from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. By the time I’m done it feels like 11 p.m. Other than that everything’s been great.


CS: Wow, after all of that you have to totally be exhausted right?


MB: The first couple of days it’s very tiring and you really start to adjust after a while. You know it’s your job now, so you just can’t come in here and mess around.


CS: So is that a big adjustment for you? I’m sure football at Southern was kind of like having a job, or maybe I’m wrong. Was it?


MB: At Southern it wasn’t a job and even here It doesn’t feel like it. You know they say if you really have fun at your job it never actually feels like working. That’s what football’s been for me my whole life and I hope it stays that way.  




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