For most people, getting a job means growing up. For Davey Pollack, getting a job meant becoming a kid again.
Pollack, who has always played football with a youthful exuberance, is now doing it every day for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.
"You get to be a kid full time," Pollack said with his trademark smile after a win against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. "You can't beat that. You get to play a kid's game and make a living off of it."
A living indeed. Pollack signed a reported five-year, $10 million contract following a holdout prior to the season, but the Shiloh grad and former Georgia star still hasn't gone on any wild spending sprees. In fact, Pollack said he's not even in control of the checkbook.
"I never see my money. It goes straight to the bank," Pollack said. "My wife does the checkbook.
"Nothing changes. We're still the same people. We got a house, but that's the only thing we really got."
Life in the pros
On the field, things have changed for Pollack. The Bengals decided to move Pollack from his college position of defensive end to linebacker, a position he feels he still has a lot to learn about.
"I love football, regardless. It's just different," Pollack said of his new position. "It's like anything, you start doing something new and it just takes a little time to get used to it. Once I get it, it'll be a lot of fun."
Another former Bulldog and current Bengal, defensive end Robert Geathers, said Pollack is making strides in his adjustment to linebacker.
"It's kind of a slow transition, but he's getting it," Geathers said. "Hopefully as time goes by he'll get it more."
So far this season, Pollack has 11 tackles and one sack in limited playing time. Pollack remains second on the depth chart to second-year linebacker Landon Johnson.
"It's tough sitting on the sidelines anytime," said the energetic Pollack. "You're just praying they'll call the defense you're in on."
One benefit for Pollack is the fact that moving to a new position doesn't give him any comparison between college and the pros. Many college-turned-pro players talk about the difference in the speed of the game between the two levels, but Pollack said he wouldn't know anything about that.
"I've never played linebacker before so I can't tell you if the speed's any faster," said
Pollack, who does have some suspicions as to why the game may seem faster to some.
"I don't necessarily think people are faster, but they're better. They get to points quicker not because they're faster, but because they're smarter. Not playing linebacker, I don't know how people were in college, so it's not a big difference for me."
Most importantly for Pollack, winning has followed him to the pros.
During his time at Georgia, the Bulldogs had a record of 42-10 and won the school's first SEC championship in 20 years.
Now that he's with the historically woeful Bengals, the team is 5-1 and sitting on top of the AFC North division. The last time the Bengals won the AFC was 16 years ago.
Pollack said it's been exciting to see the enthusiasm Bengal fans have had about the team's quick start.
"They're crazy about their team," Pollack said. "When do you think the last time they saw 5-1 was?"
Miles from friends, home
Winning is nothing new to Pollack. Doing it without best friend David Greene is.
For years at Georgia, Greene was always just down the hall from Pollack. Before that he was just on the other side of Snellville at rival South Gwinnett. Now Greene is over 2,000 miles across the country in Seattle, playing for the
But Pollack said the distance hasn't hurt their friendship and that he talks to Greene at least once a week.
"You know how me and Greenie were," Pollack said. "He's my best friend and he always will be."
Greene currently sits third on the depth chart, behind starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and backup Seneca Wallace.
"He's loving it," Pollack said of Greene's experience in Seattle. "We talked Friday night and he said he's having a great time just growing and learning things about football and life."
Not quite as far away as Pollack's best friend are his family and home.
He admits that he misses his home sometimes, but he doesn't dwell on those types of things.
"I like where I'm at. It's fun," Pollack said. "I miss home, don't get me wrong, but I'm here now."
Pollack said it helps that his family is still able to come to most of his games.
"They've only missed two games," Pollack said of his parents. "They like to come to all of them."
Once a Bulldog,
always a Bulldog
Even though Pollack is now in Ohio, Georgia - the University of Georgia, that is - is still on his mind, and his TV.
"I watch every minute of every game if I can," Pollack said. "If we don't have meetings the day before I watch every single second."
So far, Pollack has been impressed with his former teammates, especially with the play of his and Greene's replacements.
Quentin Moses, who took over Pollack's starting position at defensive end, has an SEC-leading seven sacks in only six games. This was news to Pollack on Sunday
"He's got seven? How many games have they played, six?" said a shocked Pollack. "He's going to shatter my record (of 14 sacks in a single season)."
Quarterback D.J. Shockley has also done a fine job replacing Greene and Pollack said he couldn't be happier for him.
"Shockley's playing good too. Boy, I love seeing that," Pollack said. "(Shockley and Greene are) two of the best individuals I've ever met. (Shockley's) always doing what he's supposed to do: he's always at class, always working out, always where he's supposed to be. (Shockley and Greene) don't say bad things about people. They just live their lives like you should."
For Pollack, he's going to continue to live his life like he always has: no looking back, just full-steam ahead.
"It's an awesome atmosphere at college, but you get four years and I had four great ones," Pollack said. "I had so much fun that I wouldn't want to go back. It's time to move on."