Big Night For Boomer
Dilip Vishwanat - Getty
Dilip Vishwanat - Getty
Warpaint Illustrated Publisher
Posted Aug 29, 2007


With one roster cut down and another looming after the Chiefs visit the St. Louis Rams Thursday night, fullback Boomer Grigsby is hoping he can build upon his success from a week ago against the Saints. He hopes he can show that he’s deserving of a roster spot, and isn’t taking anything for granted.

Anyone who has watched HBO’s Hard Knocks knows Grigsby’s story. He’s been featured more than almost any other player.

But although Grigsby has made a flash on television, it means little to him at the moment. All he cares about is showing his coaches and teammates that the conversion from linebacker to fullback isn’t just for the cameras, and that he’s more than a special teams player.

Against New Orleans, Grigsby took his usual turns on the kickoff team. He had plenty of opportunities while the Saints poured 30 points on the Chiefs, but eventually got his first taste of life as an NFL fullback.

“I wasn’t nervous,” said Grigsby. “Instead, I was looking around at who was on the offensive line. I was looking at Brodie in the eyes, and I gave him a little ‘Roll Tide,’ and I felt comfortable.”

After entering the game in the third quarter, Grigsby was first called on to be the lead blocker. It didn’t go so well. In fact, he missed his first assignment. But from there, things improved.

With the Chiefs facing a long third down, Grigsby chipped the outside rusher, pushed him back and then ran into the flat as the safety valve for quarterback Brodie Croyle. Under duress, Croyle lofted a high pass back across the field. Grigsby leaped into the air and stretched his arms to haul in the pass.

What was the young fullback thinking as the ball headed his way?

“Catch the ball,” said Grigsby. “You never know how many snaps you’re going to get. You don’t want to drop the ball. Hey, I just wanted to show that white boys could jump.”

With that out of the way, Grigsby’s night was far from over. When the Chiefs scored their only touchdown of the evening, #46 cleared a path for halfback Marcus O’Keith. He was understandably enthusiastic after the play - after all, this was his first preseason game. He sat out the first two with an oblique injury.

“It was exciting,” said Grigsby. “Another roller-coaster ride. I learned a lot of valuable information in a short time on the field. You can’t match the speed of the game.”

And that’s something that has to happen if Grigsby is going to make an impact. This team doesn’t have a true fullback on the roster. Wednesday, the Chiefs placed fullback Greg Hanoian on injured reserve, and Kris Wilson is more of a tight end than a fullback.

He’s done a great job since taking over for Ronnie Cruz midway through the 2006 season, but he’s not someone who can pound it play after play, blocking the way for Larry Johnson and company.

Grigsby’s physical nature and kamikaze playing style make him the ideal candidate to fill that role.

With the Rams game set for tonight, this evening could be a make or break event for Grigsby. Setting aside all the play he’s been getting from HBO, he still has to make this football team.

That’s why he’s remained very real and grounded in his pursuit to show everyone he was born to play fullback in the NFL. He has more to prove before he’ll be ready to become a lead blocker.

“I have to do the little things right,” he said. “I know there are some details in route running and assignments. Because I know I can play with the ones and play at that speed.”



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