Dolphins' Brent Grimes focused on game, not ex-mates
DAVIE, Fla. -- If the Atlanta Falcons needed any reminder Brent Grimes still can play, he provided one.
Grimes saved the day for the Miami Dolphins midway through the fourth quarter of last Sunday's 24-20 win at Indianapolis. With the Dolphins clinging to a four-point lead, he picked off Colts quarterback Andrew Luck in the end zone.
Grimes was playing in his second regular-season game since suffering a torn Achilles' tendon in the 2012 opener for Atlanta and missing the rest of the year. When he became a free agent after the season, the Falcons didn't appear to show great interest in retaining him and he signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Dolphins.
In Sunday's home opener for Miami, Grimes will run into Atlanta. But he insists he will be thinking nothing negative about the team he played for his first seven seasons.
"It was a great time," Grimes said. "I made great friends. There were a lot of winning teams. I got nothing bad to say about anybody there. I made a lot of friends I still talk to to this day. That's how it goes sometimes. You got to go somewhere else. I'm happy here. I just want to go out Sunday and get a win."
Grimes was hurt in last season's opener against Kansas City. He didn't initially realize how serious it was.
"It was just a nothing play, just a regular little quick pass," Grimes said. "Broke. Just my Achilles' tendon went. … I didn't know what happened. I thought had gotten kicked in my leg."
Instead, Grimes was soon on crutches. He watched the rest of the season from the sidelines, and was helpless when the Falcons blew a 17-0 lead and lost 28-24 to San Francisco in the NFC Championship game.
The Falcons didn't go overboard in trying to bring Grimes back. So he moved on to Miami.
"This league, it's a money thing sometimes," he said. "Sometimes you've got the salary cap and things like that have got to be expected. I was coming off an injury. Things like that, it's not that big of a surprise."
Grimes said he never had any doubt that he would return to full strength for this season. He said he felt fine when organized team activities got underway in late April.
Still, some wanted to see how Grimes, 30, looked when the games started to count. Had the 2010 Pro Bowler possibly lost a step?
There's been no evidence of that so far. Grimes has been everything the Dolphins have hoped for as they sought during the offseason to upgrade their secondary.
"He's played well," Miami coach Joe Philbin said. "He's very competitive. He knows the scheme. He's fit into the scheme well. He prepares well. He plays with good production in the games."
Grimes made the big play against the Colts, enabling the Dolphins to start the season 2-0. He was able to get in front of wide receiver Reggie Wayne.
It marked the first interception for Luck after 165 passes without one. That had been the NFL’s longest streak.
"I didn't know," Grimes said of Luck's streak. "I don't really keep up with the stats. … Obviously, if I pick off the guy who you want to call the worst quarterback in the league, I feel the same way. … An interception is an interception. But at that point in the game, if you want to see a great player (in Luck) who makes a lot of plays, it was a great play."
Now, Grimes will run into another top-flight quarterback in Atlanta's Matt Ryan. The two were teammates the past five seasons.
Grimes downplayed how often he intercepted Ryan in practice, saying only, "I made plays in practice." He lavished praise on the two-time Pro Bowler.
"He's so smart and he knows what he's doing," Grimes said. "He does all his work before the game and that puts him in the right position to make tons of plays. It's a good team. It's a great offense. If you're not ready, they can make you look bad in a lot of ways."
Grimes will be ready. If the Falcons require any reminder he’s all the way back from his injury, it's on the tape.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson.