Playing his collegiate years at Shippensburg University before going undrafted in 2006, and then spending a season in Europe, the path to NFL stardom seemed like an unlikely route for Brent Grimes. He had to grind it out the hard way.

After eventually earning a roster spot on the Falcons in 2007, Grimes proved his value on special teams and found his was onto the defense two years later, in 2009. In his first season as a starter he recorded 66 tackles and six interceptions while gaining the respect of his teammates and the reputation of being a ball hawk.

The Buccaneers bolstered their secondary with the signing of 4-time Pro Bowl CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Getty Images

New Bucs CB Brent Grimes Photo by: Getty Images

“I haven’t seen Matt Ryan back down from too many corners,” head coach Dirk Koetter said, recalling his time in Atlanta. “But Matt would tell me everyday, ‘We can’t throw this route on that side because Grimes is over there.’ And I was like, ‘What? We can go against that guy!’ And he had about 15 picks in that first week I was there.”

For Grimes, it’s always been about splash plays. The 5-foot-10 cornerback knew, with his background and size, that he would have to stand out on the field and make others take notice. Since 2009, during seasons in Atlanta and Miami, he’s intercepted 34 passes en route to four Pro Bowls.

“Making plays on the ball, I feel like that’s my strong suit,” Grimes said. “I go get the ball. That’s what wins games in the league, making plays on the football when the ball’s in the air and I feel like that’s a strong suit for me.

“It’s my technique,” he continued. “My athletic ability helps me a great deal as far as getting in and out of breaks and jumping. And just knowing the game, film work and things like that. I brought it up earlier, but genetics is a great deal. I guess I’m just lucky to be able to do some of the things I can.”

Grimes made it clear that he’s excited to be back in Mike Smith’s defense, the system that introduced him to the NFL, as well as an abundance of young talent on the Bucs roster. The feeling is mutual.

Both Koetter and Licht spoke of finding the “right type of guy” and “right type of fit”, both of which describes Grimes. At 32, Grimes is still playing at a high level – evidenced by three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2013-15 – and has shown no signs of slowing down. Tampa Bay is confident that age is only a number and that Grimes has at least a couple of great years left as a shutdown cornerback. What’s more, the moves in free agency – signing quality players at positions of need – have given the team more flexibility this April.

“(Grimes) plays like a young guy,” general manager Jason Licht said. “He still has a lot of energy. I would probably card him if I were a bartender. He looks young. He’s one of those guys that, despite being a little older than the average player, continue to make plays. And that’s Brent. He jumps off the film every time you put it on. He’s extremely athletic. One of the most athletic corners in the league and I’m sure he’s got a lot of gas left in the tank.

Bucs CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Getty Images

Bucs CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Getty Images

“Our goal in free agency is to make our team better,” Licht continued. “It just so happened that we were able to address some needs. In the draft we’re still going to have the same approach. It’s still going to be the best player, whether we’re picking at nine or moving back, it’s going to be the best player that makes us better. This does help a little bit, though, especially with the quality of player in Brent and the other signings. It does help in giving us more options, and we always like options here.”

With the addition of Grimes, Tampa Bay currently has six cornerbacks on its roster. Along with Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks, the other two presumed starters, the Bucs corners also include Jude Adjei-Barimah, C.J. Roberts and Joel Ross. Sterling Moore and Mike Jenkins both remain unrestricted free agents.

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About the Author: Zach Shapiro

Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders. Contact him at: zshapiro12@gmail.com
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drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

I’m going to cancel my season ticket if the Bucs
don’t resign Jenkins. The team will be a disaster without him.
I know he will come through for the Bucs once he gets his focus.
Nest stop for Jenkins is Uber.

BucWild02
BucWild02
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

drdneast – How many times can you cancel your tickets? Do you renew, then cancel, then renew, then cancel, then renew, then cancel, then renew, then cancel, then renew, then cancel? The “Glazer Boys” don’t care if you attend the games and neither does anyone else. Geez.

BucWild02
BucWild02
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

Fix that comment :
– drdneast wrote, “I’m going to cancel…Jenkins is Uber”

You could have just written that you really hope the Bucs resign Jenkins because he’s ____________. He will fit the new scheme because he ______________. You are a huge fan because __________.

Enough posturing already! It’s freaking March!

Dbuc63
Dbuc63
Reply to  BucWild02
5 years ago

Nothing like having the big ole belly laugh! Thanks BucWild02.

scubog
scubog
Reply to  BucWild02
5 years ago

BucWild: I know he thinks my reading comprehension skills are weak, but I think drdneast may have been making an attempt to be sarcastic. I suspect he’s already made payment.

georgehicks
georgehicks
5 years ago

Well there will be other fans that will join the bucs bandwagon. I would be one of the dieheart fans ever since when Tampa bay came into the league but I lived over 1500 miles from my home that I grewup and Iam 70 now.Tampa will probably get atleast 1 cb and a safety thru the draft.Go Bucs GOOD MOVES EVERYONE OF THEM SO FAR>

BucWild02
BucWild02
5 years ago

I am glad the Bucs picked Grimes up. Amukamura would have also been a good addition to IMO. I think having a leader in the secondary that knows what Mike Smith expects and can reduce the entire secondary’s learning curve was probably a big factor as well as Grimes’ talent.

BucWild02
BucWild02
Reply to  BucWild02
5 years ago

Plus Verner was a pro bowler under the new secondary coach when he was at Tennessee. I could see Verner on one side, Grimes on the other, with Banks coming in on nickel to cover the big receiver/tight end sounds like a good plan to me!

Iabucfan
Iabucfan
5 years ago

All the FA signings so far have been nice. But, the best one was getting Mike Smith as DC. Go Bucs!!!

makski
makski
5 years ago

Not that he was terrible or anything, but I am hoping that M. Smith is one of those coaches that makes a better coordinator than a head coach. Really like the signings so far. Good veteran players that should come in and be able to start right away. Filling holes on our team so we don’t have to draft a certain position and can go BPA !! The only positions I would like us to still look at are RT, SLB, and maybe more competition at Safety. I really do not like any of the available LB’s in FA though.… Read more »

pinkstob
pinkstob
5 years ago

“…and has shown no signs of slowing down”. Not true. However hopefully he’s better than anybody else we have in house. At the very least he should have Matt Ryan’s number. I’m also glad that we aren’t afraid to sign a CB that’s 5’10”. I just wish we would have done it three years ago when he was better.

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

We sure are spending a lot of Cap money now so there should be little complaining from the anti Glazer crowd.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  Horse
5 years ago

Don’t worry horse, they’ll still complain.

hamilton
hamilton
5 years ago

good pick up,bank will be in trouble if we pick up cb in the first three rds in draft.

makski
makski
Reply to  hamilton
5 years ago

Hamilton, Banks will not be in trouble, but the new signing, Robinson, might. Or maybe Barimah, or the other 2 CB’s we have that I have never herd of. Banks, as long as he doesn’t fall on his face this preseason, will at least still be here for depth. He will be our #3, #4 or #5 CB but should definitely still make the roster.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

Thanks Scudog, for picking up on the sarcasm. I mean how much more apparent did I need to make it. Sheeesh. Haven’t renewed yet but if I do, maybe I will meet u at a game and buy u a coke.

scubog
scubog
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

Diet Coke, lots of ice please. Always happy to meet fellow posters. I’ve had the good fortune to sit with JonnyG and his son at a game (lost as usual) and with Pinkstob and his friend at practice.

scubog
scubog
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

It’s SCUBOG not “DOG”.