There's back pain, and then there's back surgery, and then there's the ordeal Linden Gaydosh endured.

Last August, the Carolina Panthers' defensive tackle underwent surgery for a herniated disc before he had a chance to make the team as a rookie. Doctors ordered him not to sit down after the operation.

For a month.

That meant no driving, no lounging on the couch, no chairs for eating meals. Gaydosh, who is 6-foot-3, 315 pounds, could only sit down in the bathroom.

"I limited those trips as much as I could," Gaydosh said Tuesday by phone. "Until I was pretty much bursting."

He had his meals standing up, and spent his training camp bus rides lying down in the aisle.

"Watching TV was kind of an issue," he says.

But physical discomfort isn't an insurmountable burden when you're from Peace River, Alberta, and one of the few people from your town ever to play football at the college level, let alone beyond that. The trial for Gaydosh wasn't when he got to a new country and a new style of football; the trial was knowing his father's painful football story, and going ahead in spite of it.

Peace River, pop. 7,000, is not a football hotbed. There's one field, surrounded by a track and small bleachers. The nearest NFL city is Seattle, which is a 15-hour drive away. Kids from there want to grow up to be the next Chris Osgood (who is from there) rather than the next Tom Brady. Linden Gaydosh was one of them.

"I thought I was a hockey player for the longest time," he says. The problem was, the biggest NHL player he knew about was Todd Bertuzzi, who was 240 pounds, and Gaydosh was 300 at age 15.

His high school coach wanted him on the football team, but Linden's father, Dave, already went down that road. It did not end well.