There was a familiar face going through the paces with the Troup High football team on Thursday.
Cory Grissom, a former Troup High standout, was with the team during its practice session Thursday morning.
Grissom, a defensive lineman who played college football at South Florida, is hopeful of landing with an NFL team this season, so he’s making sure he’s fit and ready to go.
He figured going through a two-hour practice session with his old team would serve as a solid workout for the day, and he could also hopefully motivate some of the current players.
At the close of practice when the players were doing repeated 100-yard sprints, Grissom was right there with them.
“Today, I saw a couple of guys bent over. You have to set an example,” Grissom said. “I told them, the next person to bend over, you’re adding more 100s on it. You look back, and nobody’s bending over.”
Grissom was feeling the effects of the practice and the 100-yard runs, but he kept on pushing.
“You can’t let them see you sweat,” he said.
Grissom was a senior on the Troup High team in 2007 that went 6-4, and he spent his next five seasons at South Florida in Tampa.
Grissom was red-shirted in 2008, and he played in eight games with three starts in 2009.
Grissom moved into the starting lineup in 2010, and he remained there for the rest of his time at South Florida.
Over his final three seasons, Grissom played and started in everyone of the Bulls’ games.
He had 38 tackles in each of his final two seasons, and as a senior in 2012, he had a career-high seven tackles for loss.
Grissom wasn’t selected in the 2013 draft, but he was signed by the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent.
He appeared to have a solid chance of making the team when he went down with an injury in a preseason game.
“I got leg-whipped by one of our defensive lineman,” Grissom said. “He hit my ankle and I had a high ankle sprain. The doctor said I was going to be out at least a month.”
For an established player, it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal, but for an undrafted player hoping to make the team, it was a difficult blow.
Grissom was placed on injured reserve, and his season was over.
In March, the Patriots released Grissom, and he was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs later in the month.
Unfortunately for Grissom, that didn’t work out either, and he was released.
Since his release, Grissom has been in contact with a couple of teams, and he is hopeful of landing a roster spot.
“I had a workout with Tampa Bay, and Carolina,” Grissom said. “They were congratulating me on how hard I worked and to just sit by the phone, and hopefully we’ll work something out.”
Grissom said his main objective right now is to make sure when a team does come calling that he’ll be physically ready to answer the bell.
“My number one goal is staying in shape, and to drop a couple of pounds,” Grissom said. “I’ve been told my agent to drop and maintain when I reach my set goal.”
While Grissom’s tenure with the Patriots was short, he does consider it a valuable experience.
He went through most of preseason camp with the team last year, and he was able to play in three preseason games.
Whenever his next chance arrives, he’ll know what life as an NFL player is like.
“It really helped a lot,” Grissom said. “At first, I didn’t expect how hard of a job it really was just trying to make a team.
Once I experienced it first hand, it was pretty rough. But if you have the right mindset, you will make it.”
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 (ext. 232) or on Twitter @lagrangesports