Fullback Boomer Grigsby is one of the hardest workers on the Texans.
The Texans signed fullback Boomer Grigsby this offseason to add depth in the backfield and on special teams. The 2005 fifth-round pick from Illinois State has played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins in his career. He began his career as a linebacker.
After he was featured in the HBO series, "Hard Knocks," which filmed the Chiefs' 2007 training camp, Grigsby developed a strong following by football fans across the nation. He currently is being featured in the NFL.com's preseason series, "On the Fringe."
1. What were some of the challenges you faced switching from linebacker to fullback?
"Luckily, linebackers and fullbacks have very similar body types, so it wasn't like I was going from linebacker to left tackle, or linebacker to wide receiver. They're both kind of the same height/weight ratio, your stronger type of guys. Fortunately, the athletic ability and the skills I already possessed transferred over when I switched to fullback."
2. Which position do you prefer?
"Well, you know, I'm not really sure. I've played linebacker my entire life. I never took a snap on offense until the National Football League, and linebacker got me here. It was my passion, but I had to do what I had to do to survive. I had a coach who asked me to switch in the third year of a three-year contract. We needed a fullback, and I wanted to do whatever I could do to play and help the team.
"So now I'm looking back and I never really felt like I got the opportunity to play linebacker in the National Football League. But at the same time, I seized the opportunity to play fullback and I've hung on. You know hindsight is 20/20. I just look at it like I did what I had to do to survive. Whichever one is going to get me on the field is the one I want to play."
*3. What do you think you bring to the Texans? *
"I think mainly what I will bring is probably a solid sense of responsibility. I think I'm the type of guy of that they can count on and I think overall I think I'm a great team player. I think I've showed just through my ability to switch from linebacker to fullback that I'm willing to do whatever it takes to play in the National Football League and to help my team, let alone help myself. But first and foremost, I put the team first. That's why I switched positions and tried to hang in there.
"Also, I think my biggest gift throughout my career is that I have been more of a special teams player more than a starter. I had a couple starts at fullback, but what it all boils down to is I've been a special teams player and I'd like to think that I'm a solid, reliable backup. Hopefully, I'll even be able to crack the lineup a little bit as a fullback, but I'll mainly contribute on special teams to show that I'm needed."
4. With Vonta being out because of a death in his family, how has that affected your practice reps?
"Well, obviously that was a bad situation for Vonta and my apologies and thoughts go out to Vonta and his family. With him being gone, I did get the chance to run three or four times my reps that I normally would, and I think that helped more than anything in the world. I need to get in the huddle with the starting offense and prove to these coaches that I'm reliable and that I know the plays. I know what to do. I can make the right reads.
"The zone offense is completely different from anything that I've ever done, and I've only been playing fullback for two years. I came from a just line-em'-up-and-run-into-each-other kind of system. Here, there's a little bit more to it. You have to be able to read and make the right decisions."
*5. Having been highlighted on the HBO documentary "Hard Knocks," has that added any exposure to your career or increased your fan following? *
"Absolutely, for some reason people love to watch TV. Football is a sport that you get to play with your helmet on, and any time you get to take off your helmet and people get to know you who you are, fans love access. I think that people realized by watching the show that I was just a blue-collar, humble boy who was willing to do whatever it takes to make the team.
"I just went out there and tried to be a crazy country boy running down the field with kickoffs. I think fans had a lot of respect for that and they could tell that I didn't have an ego or an arrogance level. I was just happy to be there and I think really what the show did for me more than anything - you know, I'm not the producer I just got lucky that they portrayed it the way they did - is it just really showed my passion for the game and I think the fans could really relate to that. I feel fans really appreciate when they can tell that a player really likes to play."
6. You said you've trained in Mixed Martial Arts. Does practicing MMA help you with playing football?
"Well, truthfully, the Mixed Martial Arts thing is entirely more of (Vikings defensive end) Jared (Allen's) thing than it is mine. Jared is a tremendous MMA fighter for a football player. Obviously, his career is football and his hobby is MMA, and he trains for it. You know I went along with it and I've never felt so out of my element in my life. I did some wrestling and I'll wrestle with you any day on a mat, but it's a whole different world standing up and throwing punches.
"I think I would stick to what we would call the 'blue collar brawler' method of fighting, which means I would just charge at you as a fullback or a linebacker and hit you as hard as I can with my head. Jared is actually good. I was watching him and I thought to myself, 'He's really good.' So I asked the trainer if I could train. We were training fighters who have a lot of credibility and they were like, 'Yeah, he's really good.' I was like, 'Well good, because I'm not trying to act like I know who's good or bad.' I'm a football player not a fighter."
*7. Out of all your tattoos, which one is most significant and why? *
"It's really hard to tell. They all have some type of meaning to them. Jared used to make fun of me and call me a walking high school billboard of inspiration. I don't have any tattoos like a random lion or a dragon or something tribal. Every tattoo means something, so it's hard for me to really say which one is more important to me. I have one on my left shoulder, and it's a poem written by Edgar Albert Guest that I think transfers to everything in life. To me it's about not being afraid to fail and going forward and keeping your head up. I think that one kind of means the most to me."
8. Do you regret getting any of your tattoos?
"Nope, absolutely not! I have one and I won't say that I absolutely regret the tattoo. I got it in college. I have 'BOOM' written down the back of my left tricep. I got that down in a dorm room in college and I don't think at that time I could afford the 'ER' part of the tattoo. If anything, I think it was more of just my tough football guy tat. It's sole purpose was to hang out of a jersey, so it doesn't have as near as much meaning as any of the rest of them."
9. What motivates you to keep going and pursue your career as a professional football player?
"I think it's just my ambition. I've always felt that I wanted to do more and give more and be bigger or better. I never really felt like my NFL career took off to the degree that I would have liked it to. I've hung in there and I've been privileged to play a sport that is so rare and so hard to play. It makes me cherish every single moment. I think that every day that I get to play is a complete blessing. So I think that really my motivation is that I'm at the top of my game in something. This is professional football. No matter where you go in the world, you will never find a higher level of competition like this. I think it means a lot to me to be able to call myself a pro."
*10. If you weren't playing football, what do you think you would be doing? *
"I've spent the offseason these last three or four years trying to figure out what I would do when football was done. I've gone to continuing education programs. My first year I went back to finish my degree. The sole purpose of that was to set something up for myself for when football was done for me.
"At the moment, I'm kind of stuck and I will play football as long as my body will allow me to. I'll use the game as much as it's used me and just be happy and play the game with passion. I think I have a desire to learn more about business. I think I'd like to go get an MBA. I was fortunate enough to attend the Kellogg School at Northwestern for an executive education program. I think I'd like to set the bar and see if I can get in there and attend school there for two years and hit corporate America by storm."