"I AM going to be a human being much longer past this playing career."
This is Brodie Grundy's simple motto on life. Footy is great, but it is not everything.
In a wide-ranging interview with AFL.com.au, the deep thinking Grundy has revealed that the COVID-19 enforced shutdown of football has allowed him to fast-track the completion of eight years of tertiary study in health science.
"One of the benefits for me with this whole shutdown was fast-forwarding my degree," Grundy said.
"I am doing three subjects at the moment. I have been studying for seven years now, I had a year in Adelaide when I finished high school. And that was really important for me on a personal level to know what it was like to have some independence, balancing work, having time commitments, being organised.
WHEN WILL FOOTY RETURN? AFL delays big reveal
"Eight years later I am still chipping away, coming into my last semester now. I'll be finished mid-year.
"For me, it almost eclipses my football. I hold it in high regard. I have always wanted to do things and be something more than just a footballer. When I look back, I feel I am a balanced person, and that I have a bit of perspective."
Grundy, All-Australian and Collingwood best-and-fairest winner for the past two seasons, has never wanted to be defined purely as a footballer.
"Coming to Melbourne, I have been mentored in having things outside football, and I have always wanted to be known as something more than just a ruckman for Collingwood.
"That is awesome, I love it, an honour, a feather in my cap, and I am really proud of that, but I am going to be a human being much longer past this playing career, as a Collingwood player, so I have to develop other aspects of my life and doing things like study is a part of that."
Beyond meticulous preparation for matches, Grundy said football doesn’t occupy too many of his thoughts.
"I don't think too much about it," Grundy said. "My uni keeps me busy, I've got a bit of a juggling act, I want to be able to go and have a social life as well.
"We commit a lot of time to football, and don’t get me wrong – when I'm there, I am wholeheartedly invested and extremely invested and I do my homework.
MAGPIES' SHUTDOWN REPORT CARD Weapons, downfall, more
"Growing up, you have these heroes and mentors that you look up to, and they are always the behaviours that are celebrated – the first to get there and the last to leave.
"I think as I've gotten older, you want to be able to make it through a career and make it sustainable and most importantly, enjoy it.
"I am not going to do extra work at the expense of being miserable. For me it is really important to have that balance and to know when to push and do the extra work and to also know when to pull it back. It is a finite balance and it is different for everyone.
"I want to be someone that helps facilitate those conversations."