The man behind 'The Bachelor'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Much has been made of this Bachelor's virginity - too much according to the man himself - and all the talk about it shouldn't define a guy with an interesting past.

Colton Underwood is a man who battled depression after a long-held goal to play football in the NFL proved out of his reach. I found him to be a man who deserves to be seen as more than just a one dimensional character on a TV show.

In Monday's episode of The Bachelor, Colton is seen playing the game that came to define him. And for most of his life, football was his sole focus.

"Playing football, I built myself into this character," he said. "So I kept a lot of me feelings in. I didn't vocalize how I really felt about some things because it's like, if I wanted to cry at home, well, football players don't cry. You know, I have to be tough always."

His professional football career was very brief, measured in months for three different NFL teams.

"It got to a point in year three where I was spinning my tires," he said. "I was bouncing from practice squad to practice squad, and while I took a lot of pride in making my team better, it was tough for me because it was like I was working my butt off and I'm not getting anywhere."

Then, he sustained an injury to his shoulder.

"I felt that was a sign," he said. "I wasn't happy. You know, I was depressed. I wasn't getting the success out of it that I wanted."

He had surgery and quit the NFL, and what happened next was tough to take.

"That year following was one of the hardest years of my life," he said.

After all, Underwood had played football for a total of 17 years.

"(I) lost a big part of who I thought made me into the person I am," he said.

But that's when he found a new identity - as a reality TV star.

"Filming the whole 'Bachelor' franchise and 'The Bachelor' series, there's way more to life than football," he said. "There's way more to life than just working out."

If you're thinking the contestants competing for his attention would need to be a football fan to have a chance with him, that's not necessarily true. In fact, Colton's separation from the game was so painful that he finds it hard to watch football telecasts -- so he rarely tunes in. He told me that he "fell out of love with the game."

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