Vincent mourning man he saw as 'dad' "He was my father figure," the Eagles star said. "I learned so much from him."

Posted: October 07, 2003

Troy Vincent, visibly saddened by the death of his surrogate father, talked yesterday about the man who had so much influence on his life.

James "Bud" Bodley died at the age of 56 on Saturday, leaving behind his wife, Linda; his son, James Jr.; and his daughter, Deena. Vincent, a Pro Bowl cornerback for the Eagles, also was considered a member of the family, having lived with the Bodleys during his final three years at Pennsbury High School in Bucks County.

"Any death is tough," said Vincent, 32. "I don't think I've had a close death like this outside of my uncle Tom. You can't prepare for death, and this was a sudden death."

Bodley went into St. Mary's Hospital in Doylestown on Saturday morning and died that day. The family was awaiting an autopsy yesterday to find out the cause of death.

"He was my dad," Vincent said. "I met the family back in sixth grade, and me and his son, James Jr., became the best of friends. When my mother moved across the bridge, back to New Jersey, James and Linda took legal custody of me. At that time, they pretty much raised me.

"He was my father figure. My grandpop Jefferson and Bud were the two men who inspired me the most because they were men. They took on their responsibilities. And Bud took on a responsibility that was not his. I learned so much from him - what to expect in life, how to approach life, and how to be a dad. I learned how to accept responsibility and stand up and be accounted for."

Vincent said that he also learned a valuable lesson from Bodley's death.

"He didn't really have a chance to enjoy life," Vincent said. "He was always working. He was an engineer at Johnson & Johnson, and he was always flying someplace. He was always doing something for an individual or an organization. He never ever took a day off. Linda had been on him for many years about retiring.

"It was a valuable lesson for me, to make sure I set aside time to enjoy things in life that are important, like family time.

"Sometimes, as Americans, we feel like if we don't get to work early and leave late that we're not getting the job done. That is so far from the truth. You can have a normal day of work and still be productive."

One of the many hats worn by James Bodley was that of agent for Vincent. He and his wife shared that job at the request of Vincent, who was picked seventh overall out of Wisconsin by the Miami Dolphins in the 1992 NFL draft.

"They didn't get into the business to make money," Vincent said. "They did it to provide their son with good service."

Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or bbrookover@phillynews.com.

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