Tampa Bay safety Cody Grimm hasn't had a great start to the 2011 training camp due to the fact that he is still recovering from a broken leg that caused him to end his rookie season on injured reserve last season. Grimm acknowledges that he isn't 100 percent, but hopes to be there by the season opener.
Through the first three days of training camp practice second-year Bucs safety Cody Grimm hasn’t looked right. He isn’t showing the same burst out of his breaks in coverage, and Grimm couldn’t keep up with tight end Nate Overbay, who outraced him on a deep slant pass for a big gain during Saturday’s practice at One Buccaneer Place.
The Virginia Tech product is trying to rebound from a broken leg he suffered at Baltimore in Week 12 while blocking on Aqib Talib’s interception return. Prior to that injury, which placed him on injured reserve, Grimm had started the previous nine games of his rookie season since Week 3 when he replaced Tanard Jackson as the starting free safety after Jackson was suspended indefinitely for failing his third league drug test.
Grimm acknowledges that he is not yet 100 percent at the start of training camp, but is willing to fight through the pain and soreness in his leg as he tries to regain his speed and agility.
“I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent for sure,” Grimm said. “It is definitely sore and stuff. But the only way to get the soreness out is to run on it. [Bucs trainer] Todd Torricelli said if I ever wanted to do a rehab we’d be doing the same stuff as we are out here [on the practice field], so that’s why I’m out here. I’m not quite 100 percent. I’m pacing it a little bit. I don’t want to cut on it too hard. My rehab would be all football stuff anyway.”
Unbelievably, Grimm’s broken leg is the first injury he has had to overcome in his entire football career.
“I never missed a day of practice in college or high school,” Grimm said. “It’s one of those things. There is still a lot of stuff I can learn, the speed, the cuts, and the no pain or soreness will just take some time. I just got to work hard on the knowledge part right now. I just have to ease in to it and try to learn as much as I can.”
Grimm said the soreness and pain he has to deal with occurs primarily at the end of practice and after practice rather than throughout the entire session.
“One of those things where I come out for practice and it feels pretty good then as practice goes on it gets more and more sore,” Grimm said. “Usually after I ice it and take the night off it feels pretty good the next day.”
Grimm, who has added 10 pounds and weighs close to 215 this summer, recorded 61 tackles, two passes broken up and two interceptions, including one for a key touchdown at Cincinnati during his rookie season. Injury or not, he intends to hold on to his starting job opposite Sean Jones.
“I come out here working every day to be the starter no matter what,” Grimm said. “When I’m in the film room preparing like I’m going to be the starter. But whatever happens will happen. That is not my decision. I’m out here to do everything I can to do to help the team.”
Grimm was able to participate to a degree in the team’s unofficial mini-camp at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. a month ago and said that he has seen a good deal of improvement in his leg since then.
“It’s a lot better, Grimm said. “In Bradenton I think I went like 30 minutes into practice, then it really started to hinder me and make me limp a little bit. Out here, I have made it through every practice. Towards the end it is just more soreness. It’s not so much the limp any more. So I’m definitely making progress in that way. And that’s what you have to do. You just have to put some miles on it when it is ligament damage like that.”
Despite the soreness and pain that he has to deal with at the start of training camp, Grimm expects his condition to be better not worse as the preseason comes. In fact, he said he would fully healthy by the start of the regular season against Detroit at home on September 11.
“I think I should be 100 percent even before that [start of regular season],” Grimm said. “When I was training, they just wanted to get me back to camp healthy. They didn’t want to push me too hard. When I was training I was doing a lot of balance stuff and a lot of strengthening stuff rather than just running and stuff. I think it will be a week or two and the soreness should go away.”
Bucs secondary coach Jimmy Lake is aware that Grimm is fighting through the after affects of the injury and is trying to limit his reps accordingly.
“Cody is a tough guy and I have to pull him off the field,” Lake said. “We are limiting his reps right now. Of course I tell him he has limited reps and then he runs out there anyway. I have to say, ‘Cody, get your butt on the sidelines.’”
Lake acknowledges that he will play the best player at safety in place of Grimm if for some reason the second-year defensive back can’t regain his speed and get back to 100 percent. Lake is also high on fifth-round pick Ahmad Black and holdover safeties Larry Asante and Dominique Harris.
“It doesn’t have to be Dominque [Harris], it could be Larry Assante, it could be Ronde [Barber], you don’t know,” Lake said. “We could get Tanard Jackson back here; it is always is the next guy. And that’s happened last year, you saw it with Cody. Some people thought it might be another safety. But another safety rose up to the top and that was Cody.”
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