In last year’s draft, the Buccaneers held the infamous last pick that has earned the moniker “Mr. Irrelevant”. With that pick, Jason Licht and company selected Houston linebacker Grant Stuard, who was coming off of two straight All-AAC team selections. It was made clear that Stuards performance in training camp and in preseason would decide if he makes the team or not.
Grant Stuard was born in Conroe, Texas, a town 40 miles north of Houston. Stuard had a rough childhood, with both parents being absent for most of it. That didn’t seem to matter on the football field, as he had blossomed into a 2-star recruit and later enrolled at the University of Houston.
The coaches at Houston had originally planned to play him at defensive back, and they did for the first couple years of his college career. In the later half of his college career he had decided to bulk up and play linebacker, his traits carried over, and he tore up the American Conference. On the field he was great, but off the field he was even a better person.
When asked about who he was personally, Stuard responded with “I am a child of God. In my life, I have not always been in touch with my relationship with God as much as I am now. Football is going to end, so I do not define myself as a football player.” His selflessness is easy to point out,
Heels To Halos
During his time at Houston, he grew fond of Heels to Halos, a non-profit organization who is reaching women in the streets and sexually oriented businesses all across Galveston, Houston and surrounding areas.
Stuard is very passionate about this because he has personal ties to it. “My mom is a drug addict, and she has worked in the sex industry,” Stuard said. “It’s very difficult for somebody (who’s, another, struggling on drugs or in the sex industry. It’s very hard to get out.”
During the draft process, Stuard pledged his bench preps to help raise money. “It’s the whole reason I’m doing the bench press… because the bench press is not going to make or break my draft stock,” he said. “It was an opportunity to do something good.”
On the field, Grant gives as much effort as he does off the field, stating “I know that if there is one play that I am not running or one play that I am not doing my best to do my job then how can I ever encourage somebody else to do that.” This is obvious when you watch him play, he gives 110% effort even if the play is ran away from him.
It all came together in the preseason when the Bucs played the Texans in Houston. During his time in college, Grant would go on jogs around Houston’s NRG Stadium. Now he was suiting up to fight for his NFL job in that very stadium. In front of family, Grant Stuard recorded three tackles and a pass deflection on his way to earning a roster spot.
Grant Stuard has found a role as a special teamer and has been a standout when he gets on the field. He has logged nearly 70% of all special teams snaps in his rookie year, and that number will only increase.
Next time you see Grant Stuard coming in like a missile on fire to make a crucial special teams play, remember he is more than a football player.
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