Grant back where he belongs

Tiger-Cats quarterback Quinton Porter hands off to running back Terry Grant during a pre-season...

Tiger-Cats quarterback Quinton Porter hands off to running back Terry Grant during a pre-season game against the Argos last June. (QMI Agency)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:37 PM ET

HAMILTON - In Terry Grant’s world, nothing is taken for granted when so much has been taken away, nothing is left to chance when not many were willing to take a chance on him.

It’s a world that looked so promising before it would take a turn for the worse that reached its nadir when Grant basically gave up on football.

And this from a guy who left his native Mississippi as the state’s Mr. Football, would attend Alabama and lead the Crimson Tide in rushing as a redshirt freshman in Nick Saban’s first year in 2007.

Grant’s story is one of triumph and inner turmoil, perseverance and rebirth.

His story is now unfolding in the Hammer, where Grant’s long-awaited opportunity at three-down football resulted in a debut so dazzling that it makes one wonder why it took so long for Grant to get his moment in the spotlight.

But for Grant, a man of faith, everything happens for a reason.

It’s why his love for the pigskin was rekindled when former Alabama teammate and roommate Javier Arenas invited Grant to live with him as Arenas began his pro career with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.

After watching Arenas compete at the game’s highest level, Grant was reminded by his friend of what could lie ahead if he re-committed himself.

“He told me I was too good to be sitting around,’’ Grant revealed Wednesday of a time when he was rendered figuratively lifeless.

“It was Javier who lit that light under me. He plays with his heart on his sleeve, the way I played. That time I lived with Javier allowed me to connect with the game.”

Arenas’ brother is Argos defensive back Armando Murillo, who first introduced Grant to the CFL.

“I knew nothing about the Canadian Football League,’’ Grant added. “I heard of it, but I never watched it. For me, it was football being played in the CFL.”

But once his passion had been reborn, Grant was directed to the Ticats, who ushered in Grant’s arrival this past weekend in Moncton, N.B., where the versatile running back scored two touchdowns in Hamilton’s hammering of Calgary.

The occasion marked the first meaningful game for Grant in two years.

For Grant, it would mark the beginning of a new journey that had reached rock bottom.

In the moments prior to kickoff, all the emotions that attracted Grant to football began to come back.

“That’s when the passion kicked in. I was back,’’ said Grant.

A back who can catch and do just about anything when the ball is in his hands, Grant’s collegiate career at football-rich Alabama came to an abrupt when two surgeries to repair a sports hernia forced him to quit the game.

When the injuries began to surface, Grant no longer became the featured back.

“I couldn’t fight back from the injuries and I felt the game wasn’t meant for me,’’ Grant said. “I didn’t want to play the game feeling the way I did.

“I was at a low point, my very, very low. I knew I could play this game, but I couldn’t.”

In 2010, Grant’s last year at Alabama, he decided to turn his back on the sport for good.

“I honestly felt in my heart that I was done with the game,’’ he said.

After spending three months living with Arenas in Kansas City, Grant’s return to the gridiron began.

During his time in Kansas City, Grant hooked up with a personal trainer named Mark Williams, whom Grant credits for reshaping his body and helping Grant overcome his past injuries.

And as he bided his time on Hamilton’s practice roster, assuming a role on the scout team, Grant knew he’d make the most of his moment.

It came against Calgary.

“When my time comes, I ain’t coming off the field,” Grant said. “My goal is when I go on (the field), I just don’t come off.”

frank.zicarelli@sunmedia.ca


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