Wasting no time at all, the Miami Dolphins locked up one of their best defensive players from last season today by re-signing cornerback
Grimes earned his second Pro Bowl berth and first as a Dolphin in 2013 after bouncing back from an Achilles injury the year before to tie for the team lead in interceptions with four. He also did not allow a single touchdown reception by an opposing receiver in his 16 starts, broke up a team-high 17 passes and finished with 60 tackles (52 solo), making him a priority for new General Manager Dennis Hickey before free agency opens in earnest next week.
“This is a big day for the Miami Dolphins and a very exciting day for our organization,” said Hickey, who is in his second month on the job after spending his first 18 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “We’re excited to have Brent and his family as members of our Dolphins organization going forward. My exposure to Brent over the last few years has always been on the opposite sideline and watching him intercept balls to hurt my team. But I’m excited to have him on my team now and just coming in here as I evaluated our roster, his physical talent as well as his competitive nature were always things I valued and I was excited about.”
Hickey and Head Coach Joe Philbin were present at the press conference, along with Grimes’ wife, Miko, and both Hickey and Grimes made it a point to thank owner Steve Ross for making a commitment to bringing Grimes back. He spent his first six seasons in Atlanta and made his first trip to Hawaii in 2010 after intercepting five passes, breaking up 23 and racking up 82 tackles (72 solo).
“This is awesome to hear Dennis talk about me like that and to know that the organization feels that way about me is a great feeling," Grimes said. "I’ve been in this league a while and actually feel appreciated here. That was a big thing for me. I just want to say thank you to the whole Dolphins organization starting with Stephen Ross of course for being our owner and making a final decision that he really wants to pay to keep me here."
Nobody was real certain how effective Grimes would be after missing all of 2012 with the Falcons following his injury in the first quarter of the season opener against Kansas City. But the 5-foot-10, 183-pound Pennsylvania native erased any doubts starting in training camp when he showed off his speed and his leaping ability in passing drills.
Among the highlights of his Pro Bowl season were a 94-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals on Halloween Night in a game won by Miami in overtime, 22-20, and his game-sealing interception in the end zone of Andrew Luck at the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2 of a 24-20 victory. He had expressed his desire to stay in Miami throughout the season and now he can rest easy.
“It’s been a long journey for me,” Grimes said exclusively to Dolphins.com. “I came from D-II and wasn’t drafted, played in NFL Europe and been on a lot of restricted tenders, franchise tags and a one-year deal. So to finally get a real deal where a team really just wants you around is awesome and I greatly appreciate it.”
Grimes went undrafted out of Shippensburg (pa.) University in 2006 where he recorded 140 tackles and set school records for passes defensed (38) and intercepted (27).
From the moment he signed with Miami last March, Grimes was focused on outperforming his contract and making a strong case to Philbin and the front office that he deserved to stay on. Having played at a high level back in 2011 and 2010 with Atlanta, he knew what he was capable of.
All season long Grimes continued to work harder and harder in practice and on his own, intent on making it through healthy. The only playing time he missed was in the second half of Miami’s 24-20 upset of the New England Patriots at home on December 15th, and that proved to be just a minor setback in the long run.
“I didn’t doubt myself because once I went through the rehab and started running and doing things I knew I was going to be all right, but I knew I had to show that to everybody else,” said Grimes, who also served as a mentor to rookie cornerbacks
“This team and this organization let me be myself and just enjoy and have fun playing this game. I’m always going to prepare, I’m always going to do everything right but I approach it as having fun and not so much clocking into work every day and the Dolphins embraced that and let me just be myself. I appreciate it and that’s probably why they wanted to keep me around because they like who I am.”