Hitting golf balls for the first time in his life last week was extra special for Miami Dolphins cornerback
The 30-year-old Shippensburg (Pa.) product is coming off of his best season, especially considering the fact he had missed all but one game of 2012 with a torn Achilles'. His team-leading four interceptions in 2013 only just begins to tell the story of what he accomplished in his Dolphins debut, as he did not allow an opposing receiver to catch a touchdown pass in all 16 games.
Miami re-signed Grimes to a four-year deal on Monday, rewarding him for his stellar play in 2013.
Any questions about whether or not Grimes had fully recovered from what can be a career-ending injury were answered rather quickly, and now he can look forward to taking his game to another level. He won’t be spending the six months in between the Super Bowl and training camp rehabbing and getting physical therapy this time around.
“It’s awesome. I made it through the season healthy and I got through,” said Grimes, who has gone to two Pro Bowls in his career. “I’m working out but now I can just enjoy the offseason, just relax and have a good time. I can just stay in shape and worry about that.”
From the first moment Grimes took the Dolphins' practice field, it was clearly evident that his unique athleticism was not at all compromised by the setback he suffered the prior season. He matched speedy free agent wide receiver
When the regular season started, Grimes made an immediate impact with a game-saving interception in the end zone off of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in Week 2 win on the road. He happened to be covering six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Reggie Wayne on the play and undercut Wayne at the last second to pick off the pass and preserve Miami’s 24-20 lead. That was just a sign of things to come and Grimes, who is soft-spoken and modest when it comes to his own prowess, isn’t shy about sharing the pride he took in playing at the level he did.
“It was a good season,” he said. “I was hurt the year before. I didn’t get to play and that’s what I like to do is play, so to get out there and be able to play the whole year and have a good year (was great). I didn’t have a doubt once I got back on the field I’d be able to play. Once I got out there, got through OTAs and got through training camp I knew the rest was just playing football and that’s what I like to do.”
Capping it off with a second trip to Hawaii was the crowning jewel for Grimes because he’s playing in an era with an abundance of very talented cornerbacks. He had placed his name in the same realm as Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomougha back in 2010, which was his first season as a full-time starter with the Atlanta Falcons, earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl after leading the team with five interceptions, a franchise record 23 passes defensed and 82 tackles (72 solo).
Even though his overall numbers last season weren’t as good as three years earlier, Grimes looks at his most recent Pro Bowl selection as sweeter than the first time. He had his first career touchdown off of an interception against the Cincinnati Bengals on Halloween Night when he took it back 94 yards into the end zone, finished with 17 passes defensed and 60 tackles (52 solo), all while shutting down his side of the field.
“I’m the type where I don’t really get too caught up in that type of thing,” said Grimes, who has 17 career interceptions. “But going to the Pro Bowl coming off of injury on a new team on a one-year deal, it’s a big accomplishment, so that’s pretty cool.”
By the time Grimes hits the field in May for the Dolphins’ first set of OTAs, he will be almost two years removed from that scary moment in early 2012. Based on how he performed last season, opposing wide receivers could be in store for more frequent headaches.