In 2010 Bucs safety Cody Grimm came out of nowhere to not only earn a roster spot, but an eventual starting role. Two years later the former Hokie knows a roster spot isn't a given and will need to make an impact over the four preseason games to have a chance to stick in 2012.
Cody Grimm knows all about tackling long odds. Even after a stellar high school career in Virginia, Grimm had just one scholarship offer – to William & Mary.
Grimm decided to take on a big challenge by going to Blacksburg, but beat the odds as a walk-on player at Virginia Tech, eventually earning a scholarship while putting together a solid career as a linebacker for the Hokies.
2010 saw Grimm drafted in the seventh round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and again faced an uphill climb to make the squad. The small in stature Grimm not only made the squad, but also ended up starting nine games as a rookie before a broken leg at Baltimore ended his season.
Now in his third season, and coming off another injury that limited him to just three games in 2011, Grimm once again is facing a battle to make the team. Listed behind Mark Barron and Larry Asante on the Bucs initial depth chart of the preseason, Grimm knows he has his work cut out for him, but isn't giving up.
“Yeah I’m not too worried about preseason depth charts as [long] as I am performing well in the preseason,” Grimm said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a first string or a third, if you come out and you put on some good film you’re going to have a good chance to make this team. So that’s pretty much the key. Come out here getting all the work you can during practice and in the film room so you can perform well on Fridays I guess, or whenever your preseason games are.”
Grimm, who suffered a broken leg his rookie season, also finished last season on the injured reserved with an MCL injury that occurred during the third game of the season. PewterReport.com reported throughout last year’s camp that Grimm appeared to be favoring the leg that had been broken, and Grimm confirmed he wasn’t 100 percent last year.
“Last year at this time my leg was still bothering me,” Grimm said. “Even into the preseason it was still bothering me. Obviously you take a little medicine and it’s all fine during game time. I don’t even notice anything wrong with my leg now, which is nice. I feel good again.”
This offseason, Grimm’s rehab and recovery have been much better.
“I feel awesome,” Grimm said. “Started feeling good about a month ago. For a while I wasn’t making much progress. Then all of the sudden one day it just clicked and started feeling really good and hasn’t bothered me since.”
Head coach Greg Schiano spoke about Grimm last week, and talked about how far the former Hokie has come since Schiano and his staff arrived back in late January.
“He is doing better,” Schiano said. “I think when I arrived here and the staff arrived here he was still coming back from that injury. Fortunately or unfortunately that’s what you see, but definitely a different player right now than he was in the springtime.
“I think Cody (Grimm) strength is when you get into game situations and you can go live because he will go get you. I think he is an intelligent football player. I am anxious to see him play in games [both] special teams and defense.”
While some of the Buccaneers veteran players may still be a little shocked at the pace of Schiano’s style, Grimm, while acknowledging it is not what he is used to, has no problem with the pace and attention to detail.
“It’s different,” Grimm said. “It’s a little bit more contact, a little bit longer practices. Then we have a walk through at the end of the day where we install a bunch of stuff. Usually you would install in the morning, then practice. But we’re kind of installing it in the afternoon then running it the next day. Then going over film, coming out working on what we messed up and some of the new stuff. So, it’s a little different as far as the schedule. But same stuff, you got to come out, push through the heat. You go to run around, learn stuff and learn how to play with your teammates.”
Watching your football team draft a player No. 7 overall who plays the same position you do isn’t easy to watch, but Grimm had nothing but great things to say about former Alabama safety Mark Barron.
“He’s just a specimen,” Grimm said. “I mean he’s a big dude. Him and Ronde are looking really good out there. He comes out, works hard every day. He’s a professional, he a quiet guy and comes out and works hard. Usually rookies have trouble grasping the playbook, but he hasn’t had an issue. He’s a hard worker – it’s what he’s doing. As far as the skill set, obviously being taken seventh overall, that tells you something right there.”
Grimm has had to battle for everything he has ever accomplished on a football field and knows making this year’s team is just another hurdle. Talking to Grimm you get the sense he knows he is in for a fight – but one he thinks he can win.
“I’m feeling good so far,” Grimm said. “Installing a lot of stuff still. But it’s fun to come out here and run with the guys. Camaraderie, working hard together, that’s what you do. You got to put in the sweat and tears now so going into the season you can have success.
“I got to come out and work hard everyday. We got a lot of good safeties this year and there’s a lot of competition this year. So I’m just trying to come out and do what I can to secure myself a spot.”
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