It’s Grymes’ job because somebody has to do it
PHILADELPHIA >> An injury cost Aaron Grymes his job with the Eagles.
Another door opened, fittingly, through a flurry of injuries.
If the former Canadian Football League star can stay healthy into Sunday, he’ll make his long awaited NFL debut when the Eagles oppose the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field.
“Everything happens for a reason,” said Grymes, released by the Eagles with an injury settlement late last August. “Even though I didn’t want to think about that while I was hurt, I had to remind myself that if something happens, it happens for a reason.”
With mounting casualties in the secondary and on special teams, head coach Doug Pederson decided to promote Grymes, a product of Idaho and the CFL, to the 53-man roster Friday.
“He came back extremely healthy and in shape,” Pederson said by way of explanation. “And then just the way he jumped in on all the special teams reps that he was getting, the service team reps defensively against our offense and the way he was moving. He’s a smart kid and he really picked up where he left off there in training camp. We’re very comfortable in making this decision.”
Grymes, 25, joined the practice squad a couple of weeks ago after the Eagles became increasingly thin at cornerback.
It began when veteran nickel back Ron Brooks was lost for the season with a ruptured quadriceps. Starting cornerback Leodis McKelvin already was nursing an ailing hamstring that sidelined him a few games and more recently, has limited him in practice to the point that he’s questionable for the Falcons game.
The Eagles lost more depth last week in safety Terrence Brooks (hamstring), a fierce special teams competitor who’s out this week.
Add the hamstring injury to linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, who’s doubtful, and the Eagles were dangerously short of physical bodies to play special teams and help out in coverage against a vast array of Falcons receiving targets, including all-world performer Julio Jones.
Grymes (5-11, 185) isn’t the fastest defensive back but he plays tough and with purpose. He’s coming off an all-star CFL season in which he registered 43 tackles, four interceptions and one sack in 15 games for the Edmonton Eskimos, who won their first Grey Cup since 2005.
Grymes was anything but an easy cut when the Eagles reduced their roster to 53. They waived him after he sprained his shoulder making a diving, picturesque interception in a preseason game.
After his release by the Eagles, Grymes thought about returning to the CFL but went back to Idaho, where he worked out and rehabbed.
“It crossed my mind,” Grymes said. “I didn’t really entertain any offers. My agent felt like we had a pretty good shot of getting on somebody’s roster down here. I thought about it. I talked to my old teammates up there but that’s as far as it went.”
The way it is now, the CFL playoffs start soon … and Grymes starts his long-anticipated NFL career.
“There’s a reason,” Grymes said, “I’m here now.”
Eagles guard Allen Barbre (hamstring) is out Sunday in addition to Brooks. Listed as questionable are tight ends Brent Celek (rib) and Trey Burton (hamstring) and defensive ends Taylor Hart (ankle) and Bennie Logan (groin). Celek and Logan expect to play. ... The lingering hamstring injury to McKelvin has become a concern. The Eagles have reasonably healthy and relatively experienced corners in Nolan Carroll and Jalen Mills, the rookie thrown into the fire. “He felt the hammy again a little bit yesterday,” Pederson said of McKelvin. “He’s getting his treatment and everything but he’s battling through it like all these guys are this time of year. So we just want to be precautionary with him, as well.”
NOTES >> Jordan Hicks is the first NFL linebacker with eight more takeaways in his first 16 career games since Al Richardson (Atlanta) in 1980, according to Elias Sports. Hicks has four interceptions and four fumble recoveries in those games.
... Veteran defensive end Brandon Graham is third in the league with 43½ quarterback disruptions, which are combined sacks, knockdowns and hurries. Only Pro Bowl talents Von Miller (49) and Aaron Donald (48) have more disruptions than Graham.
Eagles defensive back Aaron Grymes (38) intercepts a pass in front of Pittsburgh wide receiver Sammie Coates in a preseason game last August. Grymes will likely get his first taste of real-season action Sunday against the Falcons.