DAVIE, Fla. – Brent Grimes didn’t seem overly upset, though he wasn’t smiling, either.
The Miami Dolphins cornerback had just been told teammate Mike Wallace drew some laughs at Grimes’ expense a week earlier.
Wallace said fellow receiver Brian Hartline, “thought (Grimes) was falling down but he was actually just back peddling, so he’s just short.”
Standing among a crowd of reporters and camera people, the 5-foot-10 Grimes acted like height comments were nothing new.
“I don’t really look at corner as a big position for the most part,” Grimes said. “Most corners are about 5-11 … I mean, I’m not 5-6.
“I’m short but this is just what I do – I make plays, I compete. That makes up for it.”
That’s what the Dolphins were counting on when they signed Grimes to a one-year, free-contract in March.
He’s coming off two injury-plagued seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, who signed Grimes as an undrafted free agent from Division II Shippensburg University (Pa.) in 2006.
Grimes played briefly with the Hamburg Sea Devils in NFL Europe before joining the Falcons. He then made himself into a Pro Bowl defensive back in 2010.
Miami obviously hopes Grimes will return to his elite form.
“We thought he had excellent instincts and competitiveness,” coach Joe Philbin said. “Beyond anything else, those were the things that stood out to us. He played bigger than his size.”
Grimes suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon in the first game last year and missed the rest of the season. At a recent Dolphins OTA (organized team activity), he said he’s on schedule or training camp.
“It’s doing well,” Grimes said. “I’m building strength. I got plenty of time before the start of the season to get all the way back.”
When Grimes is healthy, Miami could benefit from his ability to create turnovers. He had six and five interceptions, respectively, in 2009 and 2010.
“For a defense in this league, you need to get turnovers because it’s tough to stop another offense three-and-out over and over and over again,” he said.
Nobody knows that better than Philbin.
“Obviously we would like for (Grimes) to get his hands on the football and disrupt the passing game, tip it, strip it, intercept it all of those things we would love to see that happen,” the coach said.
Grimes spent the first six years of his NFL career in Atlanta. He didn’t expect a change in uniform to create on-field obstacles.
“Football is football no matter what team you’re on, especially for the corner position – you cover the guy in front of you,” Grimes said. “You might have a cover-two where it might be a little different, but for the most part, it’s not as much thinking as for another position, so it’s an easy transition.”
So far, Grimes said he liked what he has seen from his new team.
“Yeah, it’s a great place,” he said. “I like the coaching staff. I mean there’s not much to not like about the city of Miami, but the team is cool. I see a lot of positives on this team. We’ve got a good group of guys and I see some good things.”
Grimes has earned compliments, too.
“He’s one of the most athletics guys I’ve ever seen,” Wallace said. “He can jump, he can run, he can do it all. He plays a lot bigger than his height.”