Grimes talks contract, new defensive scheme

Vivlamore reporting from Flowery Branch. Here is my story from today’s interview with Brent Grimes.

Flowery Branch – As the Brent Grimes’ contract situation played out during the offseason, the Falcons cornerback insists he wasn’t about to worry.

Who needs the gray hair?

The Falcons kept Grimes for another season when they placed the franchise tag on him in March. He will earn $10.281 million this season on a one-year contract.

“Honestly, it’s not my problem to deal with,” Grimes said following Saturday’s training camp practice. “I do what I do. I play football. That’s what I have agents for. They call me and tell me what’s going on. Whatever happens, I’m just going to come out and play football. I don’t worry about all that. I just have to worry about covering people.”

Cornerback Brent Grimes is set to make $10.281 million in 2012, but reportedly would like a long-term deal. (Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com)

Cornerback Brent Grimes is set to make $10.281 million in 2012, but reportedly would like a long-term deal. (Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)

Hours after the Falcons announced they had placed the franchise tag on Grimes, paying him the average of the top-five salaried cornerbacks in the NFL, his agent said he would not sign the tender. Both sides hoped to work out a long-term deal. Grimes signed the tender in April when such a contract could not be reached.

“That’s just how it is,” Grimes said. “You don’t really have to [sign the franchise tag immediately]. It wasn’t like I was drawing a line in the sand. You don’t have to [sign right away] so there wasn’t any need to [sign right away]. I’ve been here for all the OTAs, all the minicamps.”

Still, the security of a long-term contract would go a long way for Grimes. He is entering his fifth season with the Falcons after making the team as an undrafted free agent out of Shippensburg University. Grimes made the Pro Bowl following the 2010 season.

“Everybody wants that,” Grimes said. “That would be a lie to say I didn’t want that. You do what you have to do. I can’t worry about what is going on in the front office. I just play football. … If I started worrying about all that, I’d have gray hair. I make life as simple as possible.”

It won’t exactly be business as usual for Grimes. New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is adding wrinkles, especially with the addition of cornerback Asante Samuel. There have been times during training camp when Grimes has moved from his left cornerback position to the right side.

Grimes said he is comfortable with the adjustment. Nolan might be even more comfortable after getting a first-hand look at Grimes’ athleticism recently. Nolan said he was walking through the weight room and watched as the 5-foot-10 Grimes, standing on one leg, jumped on top of a box four feet high.

“He’s more athletic than I had actually thought he was,” Nolan said. “… Shoot, I can’t jump six inches on one leg. He went right up and landed on the same foot. That was pretty impressive from an athletic stand point.”

Nolan said one big adjustment in the new defensive scheme is the coordination between the roles of the cornerbacks and safeties. It has been a big focus early in training camp and the coordinator praised the work of Grimes, whom he called a “franchise player.”

Grimes said he is 100 percent recovered from the right knee surgery he had in November that caused him to miss three of the last four regular-season games and the playoff loss to the Giants. He finished with one interception, 35 tackles and 12 assists in 12 games. He played in all 16 regular-season games in both 2009 and 2010 and had a combined 11 interceptions, including five in 2010 when went to the Pro Bowl as an alternate.

There might be one more job for Grimes this season. Or maybe not.

The Falcons are looking for a new punt returner and Grimes, and he has in previous seasons, can often be found fielding kicks. Coach Mike Smith said there is an open competition for the job and praised Grimes’ hands and vision.

Grimes said punt return was his favorite while playing collegiately. He’ll keep working at it and while he wishes for such an opportunity he doubts it will come.

“I’m like ‘In case of emergency, break glass,’” Grimes said.

- Chris Vivlamore

38 comments Add your comment

backatcha

July 28th, 2012
8:04 pm

First! I can’t believe it! This must be the Falcons year! I won’t be ahead of myself! Go Falcons!!!

backatcha

July 28th, 2012
8:06 pm

Tough schedule, but determination, passion, & faith could pay huge dividends!!!

old qb

July 28th, 2012
8:19 pm

Grimes just has it. Forget height or weight. He’s a truly amazing cornerback with incredible leaping ability. Sign him to a long term contract and move on to other important issues.
I keep wondering when the Falcons are in their base defense with two cornerbacks and two safeties Who sits on the bench? Certainly not Grimes or Samuel. So our high paid Robinson becomes a backup nickel back.
Hopefully, nothing happens to Weatherspoon. He’s now the only linebacker (starter) on the roster. Any chance they’ll get another veteran before the season starts.

Marcus

July 28th, 2012
8:23 pm

dang, Viv … are DOL and MC giving you a cut of that $$$ while they are out?!??! LOL

1st the Hawks blog, now Falcons training camp …. is the AJC gonna throw some Braves coverage on you just to round everything out!?!? :)

Rick

July 28th, 2012
8:23 pm

Grimes is the most athletic player on the team and one of the most passionate….I hope the entire defense plays with the same fire

falconjonk

July 28th, 2012
8:30 pm

My tooth hurts.

Falcon James

July 28th, 2012
8:32 pm

I have seen mice jump pretty high. Not sure why Nolan was so suprised that Mighty Mouse could jump too.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 28th, 2012
9:28 pm

Marcus – I’m not out. Just sharing the rock with C. Viv. Like me and Wyche used to roll.

Michael M.

July 28th, 2012
10:13 pm

Nolan said he couldn’t jump six inches on one leg…………….heck I can’t jump at all on both legs…..Grimes is a play maker so pay the man !

falCANS

July 29th, 2012
1:37 am

This is the year Grimes proves his value as a shut down corner!!!!!!

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John

July 29th, 2012
4:36 am

Is he really 5′10″?? Dont think so but I dont care either. Bottom line is he is badass.

JSS

July 29th, 2012
5:35 am

He was a bargain for years, now it is time to pay him or keep eating up a considerable part of your cap with the franchise designation!

The best defensive player they’ve had for the past 3 and half seasons pound-for-pound… Do your job and work a deal…

redcoat

July 29th, 2012
6:30 am

Grimes has earned his due…proved his height is no issue…..time to keep this winner!

falcon

July 29th, 2012
7:08 am

The Falcons need to get Grimes signed to a long term deal. CB’s with his level of cover skills don’t come along very often. He should remain a Falcon until he hangs up the spikes IMO. IF they were willing to give Dunta Robinson a deal, they should certainly give Brent Grimes one.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 29th, 2012
7:10 am

John — Is he a badass like the Honey Badger?

Rick

July 29th, 2012
7:31 am

He is a bad ass like the honey badger! Time to get dirty and Grimey! Grimes is a beast and he has proved it with his play and he will be rewarded! We do right by our players in the ATL! GO GETEM BIRDS!

Paddy

July 29th, 2012
7:39 am

Grimes has a real good outlook on this contract thing. Falcons will get him signed to a long term deal. CB’s that talented are just too hard to develop

Michael

July 29th, 2012
7:39 am

the falcons need the honey badger!!!!

Me Too

July 29th, 2012
7:54 am

Why would HC Smith consider putting one of the best defensive backs on the punt return team and RISK injury to him. It makes no sense!!!! Just as it makes no sense putting one of the first team wide receivers in Harry Douglas on the punt return team.

kchaze

July 29th, 2012
9:50 am

Grimes has made some of the “I can’t believe” interceptions I have ever seen. Lets get the deal done!!!!!

3 CHAINZ

July 29th, 2012
10:08 am

Grimes is aite but lets see how he performs this season before we go giving him a huge contract.If by “Honey Badger” you guys are referring to LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu that comparison isnt even close. Grimes will never be the kind of player Tyrann is. He’s agressive,physical & passionate & will straight up lay a lick on you. His cockiness @ 5 ft 9 in is what i love the most & at all times he feels he is the best player on the field. Thats the type of players the Falcons need on this them a guy that will go out & hit someone in the mouth a guy talks alot of smack but goes out thier & backs it up. They’re on the right track by adding Asante but we need more players like him on this team & if you got a chance at a player like “Honey Badger” no way you pass that up for Brent Grimes. Honey Badger takes what he wants. http://youtu.be/ISg51HwZ_Q0

Jermaine

July 29th, 2012
10:16 am

Grimes is too soft.Falcons need more defensive players like Asante.Players that will go hit someone in the mouth,Talk smack but go back it up on the field.They’re on the right track with Samuel & Weatherspoon but need more players cut fro that same cloth.

True Falcon Fan

July 29th, 2012
10:46 am

Excuse me did i miss something on Grimes being a hitter or play hard at his position? Sorry 10:16 a.m. you must be referring to a different player named Grimes or a different team. Or maybe you and ZERO have alot in common!!!

TD — we need to get Grimes signed in long term!! This maybe one of the first for me agreeing w/5:35 a.m.

Go Falcons!!

Jermaine

July 29th, 2012
11:07 am

Grimes will be 30 before next season no way you give him a long term contract. That is whats wrong with Atlanta now they dont know what they are doing.Use that money to get younger & better.Draft better players & sign better free agents!

tyler

July 29th, 2012
11:14 am

Can we please just wait & see how this season goes before we go talking about giviing out contracts. Have trust in the front office they will do what is best for the team.That is why they are in their position & we are not. Let them do their job! GO FALCONS!

shizzle

July 29th, 2012
11:17 am

Yeah Jermaine can’t agree with you on Grimes. He’s the best corner they have had for years. Their interior defensive line needs to be nasty. They need some better linebackers as well.

shizzle

July 29th, 2012
11:19 am

Tyler that doesn’t mean anything. Their are plenty of GM’s in the game who has made bad decisions. Hell if you have been in Atl for the last 10 years you saw what the Hawks GM did, absolutely nothing!!

Scott Anderson

July 29th, 2012
11:45 am

Jermaine

July 29th, 2012
10:16 am
Grimes is too soft.Falcons need more defensive players like Asante.Players that will go hit someone in the mouth,Talk smack but go back it up on the field.They’re on the right track with Samuel & Weatherspoon but need more players cut fro that same cloth.

…………………………………………………..

Problem is you start getting too many like this and they are the thug life, drunk driving, weed stops by police, 8 children and no child support payments, beating up on spouse and family, car speeding.

you get the picture.

Get intelligent guys that are passionate. Brady Ewing comes to mind

Terrernce X

July 29th, 2012
12:12 pm

good to see u and Grimes getting along DLed. any updates on his lady for us ?

lowdownjj

July 29th, 2012
1:57 pm

I remember reading the weekly interviews of the upcoming coaches and QBs before each Falcon’s game. The opposing QB would be asked about the Falcon D and would often praise Dunta and mention “the other corner, he’s kinda short”. Funny, they all seem to know Grimey’s name now. Give the man his contract. Would rather see no more than 3 yr deal though. Grimey is no spring chicken

Ken

July 29th, 2012
2:49 pm

No way the Falcons should have Grimes returning punts. There is a high risk of a major injury doing that. Remember Jason Sehorn of the Giants?

Live Life

July 29th, 2012
4:17 pm

Grimes will man up!! PLAY YOUR GAME!

JSS

July 29th, 2012
5:25 pm

10:46 is out of his underground storage tank again… Somebody call the EPA…

Don’t worry, “you missed something…” It’s called a brain! Never let the light of day hit you; you might evaporate like when salt hits a slug…

Loyal Falcon

July 29th, 2012
5:48 pm

All of you that are hating on Grimes need to fall back. The guy is a best. To go from an undrafted free agent to one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL is huge. The falcons will pay him and this will all be behind us. He’s really gonna show out this year. Mark it down!

Loyal Falcon

July 29th, 2012
5:51 pm

I don’t know about you all, but I’M GLAD FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!!

shesoleo

July 30th, 2012
4:24 pm

Most of the time the best presents comes in small packages, GO Grimes!!!!! RISE UP FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!