The Buccaneers nearly lost Brent Grimes not to another team, but to another sport.
The Buccaneers made the right move by bringing Brent Grimes to town. Despite his diminutive stature (5-10), he managed four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, one forced fumble and 57 tackles in his debut season in Tampa. He came in and led a secondary that frankly needed to be led. One could argue that the flashes of great play we saw from Chris Conte came, in part, because of Grimes coverage on the outside.
Well, what if I told you that Grimes nearly stepped away from football before ever taking the field in Tampa Bay? Jack Dickey of Sports Illustrated wrote an excellent profile of Brent and his wife Miko. In it, we see that prior to last season, Brent may have had some other interests outside of the gridiron:
"In the off-season, though, Brent did consider retiring and trying out for the NBA’s developmental league—or, as Miko puts it, “going to a real league.” Says Brent, “The NFL doesn’t have a cool vibe. They make everyone look the same, with their shoes and socks the same way.” He says that whenever he does retire, he’ll join a bunch of rec basketball leagues, if not the newly branded G League, and he’ll never play any kind of football again."
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Don’t get me wrong, he did have some motivation to come play in Tampa:
So there was some excitement around coming to Tampa. Though Brent obviously would not be catching passes from Winston, he would at least be part of a growing team with a fiercely talented franchise quarterback. Bucs fans were able to rest easy as Grimes decided to bring his game to Tampa after all and the team benefited from it.
It’s hard to believe that a basketball tryout would be as successful as Grimes would have wanted it to be. I understand that he is talented, but he still stands at only 5-10. If that is short in football it is quite short in basketball. He likely would have had the deck stacked against him. I’m not saying he couldn’t have made a team. Muggsy Bogues made quite the career as a short fellow in the NBA. It just would have been more difficult for Grimes is all.
For the Bucs sake, I am sure happy that Brent Grimes decided to stay in the NFL. Interesting little side story, huh?