Blood, sweat and tears are common words that flow from a coach's mouth. Before games back at T.W. Josey High School in Augusta, Ga., Rufus Hankerson would tell his football team that the only way they would "eat" is if he saw all three on the grass. In other words, leave it all on the field.
Deon Grant was on that team, and before Sunday's thriller in New England, the 12-year vet did something out of the ordinary during warm-ups. Usually a role Brandon Jacobs takes, Grant, unplanned, led the pregame rousing and summoned his former coach.
"We were serious with it," recalled Grant, adding, "When we said that, mentally, we just got fierce for the whole game."
Grant said it was something he took with him to the University of Tennessee and then used during the first couple of years in the NFL. But for whatever reason, Grant got away from it and "let other guys control the pregame thing."
However, that spirit that was instilled in high school has never changed.
"I think that's just my mentality," Grant said. "I don't know if it's because of not growing up with a father and having to be a father to my sisters or whatever the case may be. But my whole thing is I like to do as much as I can do to put my teammate, my brother, in the best position to shine. I guess that just comes with that."
A benefactor of Grant's experience has been Spencer Paysinger. The linebacker said Grant has opened up the lines of communication to all the rookies, such as himself and Tyler Sash.
"He's really informational," Paysinger said. "He has been in the league since probably I was in eighth grade. Whenever there is something I don't understand or something on the field that I'm not seeing correctly, either he'll pull me aside or I'm free to go up to him."
That's not to say the 32-year-old doesn't have some playing left in him. After the pep talk, Grant snagged his first interception of the season, and the Giants went on to shut out Tom Brady and the Patriots in the first half. Following one of the biggest regular-season victories in recent memory, that fire during warm-ups spread to the postgame locker room.
But don't expect it to be a weekly occurrence, unless Grant is "feeling it." Paysinger wouldn't be opposed, though.
"If he has anything else he wants to share, that's totally fine," Paysinger said. "Anything that will help give us an edge."
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