READ: GRIMES EXPECTED TO MAKE AN "IMMEDIATE IMPACT"
In both games, Atlanta cornerback Brent Grimes had a killer fourth-quarter interception. He was the one who victimized Freeman at the in the second game, and he also ended the Bucs' penultimate chance to score in the first contest. Grimes made the Pro Bowl that year – the first of his four trips to Hawaii – and he surely got a lot of votes from the Buccaneers' locker room.
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"He plays like a young guy," said Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht, who gave the opening remarks at Grimes' introductory press conference on Monday. "He still has a lot of energy. … He’s one of those guys. There are certain players that despite maybe being a little bit older than the average, just continue to make plays and that’s Brent. He jumps off the film every time you put it on. He’s extremely athletic, one of the most athletic corners in the league and I’m sure he’s got a lot of gas left in the tank."
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Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter, who also worked with Smith and Grimes in Atlanta, has first-hand knowledge of Grimes' abilities and thinks they can still be brought to bear in 2016.
"I still think it just goes back to the right kind of guy," said Koetter. "I personally am not too tied up on guys’ age, especially when I have personal knowledge of them. I think that age is a number and there’s successful guys playing at different ages. Turn on the film, the film doesn’t lie. A guy can either play or he can’t and I mean [Grimes has] been to three straight Pro Bowls. We’re looking – we said it time and time again, they have to be the right kind of player and the right kind of guy and if they are I don’t think that the age is the biggest deal."
“It was a challenge and I approached the challenge," said Grimes. "I’ve done that for the majority of my career, as far as coming from a small school, being undrafted. I like challenges and that was a challenge I attacked. I felt like I became a better player as far as knowing things. Going to a different system and excelling in a whole other system, that was a challenge for me and I feel like it made me better.
"I just wanted to be great. I felt like I had the ability to do so. Obviously I came from a small school and now I have a lot more. I wouldn’t have the chances that somebody that came from USC, Alabama that would have but I felt like I had the ability, especially when I got to the league and saw ‘Oh I can do this’, and what drove me was I wanted to become a great player."