July 16, 2019
The day after the Atlanta Falcons and Grady Jarrettagreed to a new deal (just hours before the deadline) Jarrett joined Dukes and Bell on 92.9 The Game.
Jarrett had agreed and signed to play under the Franchise Tag, but negotiations continued to work out a new contract. He signed a 4-year, $68 million deal, to keep Jarrett in Atlanta until he is at least 30 years old. There is a $42.5 million fully guaranteed, which will help the Falcons with the salary cap and other negotiations, while obviously benefiting Jarrett as well. Note that Deion Jones signed a 4-year extension later in the day.
Carl Dukes and Mike Bell host the afternoon show on 92.9 The Game and hosted an in-studio Q&A with Grady on Tuesday, July 16.
Grady joins the show, notably in even better shape than last season. He said he was not stressed about the negotiations, “Everything happens in due time. I have put the work in and prepared to play under the tag or with the new deal.”
Grady was prepared to let the process take care of itself. As soon as the season ended earlier this year, Grady started preparing and training for this 2019 season. He did enjoy family time, took some vacations and other off the field activities, such as his charity camps as well as other charity events.
The ever humble Grady is going to focus on the task at hand and continue to improve. He is “Thankful for where I am at. Blessed. I am motivated to perform even more now. So much more out there for me to accomplish – ready to go get it.”
When asked if he is out to prove he is worth his new deal, he replied that he did not have to prove he was worth it, he has already done that. Grady stated that, “No one can put more pressure or expectations on me than myself….whatever deal I had. I am always hungry for more, always want to be better and drive for more.” He considers himself a “Kid that came from nothing,” so anything he gets he legitimately works for.
On becoming a leader on the team, Grady stated that he is definitely a leader on the team. His first year was a learning year, but he has always been a leader, respected in his role on the team. “To much who is given, much is expected” that is why God put Grady on this earth.
During the off season, Grady talked to Head Coach Dan Quinn and Falcons owner Arthur Blank some. Everything was very respectful on both sides, he had no worries – just had to get the deal done. He, as Julio Jones has noted, “Mr. Blank said I would be a Falcon for life.” Grady noted, “If we came up to something we did, if not, we didn’t. I am still playing the same. Not taking it personal.” The talks with DQ in off season were checking in and chatting – not football or contract based. DQ legitimately cares about his players and just checks in on everyone.
On DQ calling shots as the Defensive Coordinator, Grady said that he is excited. He knows the Falcons have great players on every level, with more experience now, with young guys ready to step up. There are new guys to the team. And Adrian Clayborn is back.
Regarding the new offensive line, Grady responded that they defensive line will be a good challenge for them and really pushing the O-Line. As DQ says, iron sharpens iron, and that will help the defense get better as well. He noted there is allot more beef on the line now and he is excited to go against these new guys. However the battles turn out, there are many new guards and tackles acquired through free agency or the draft. Grady commented that Chris Morgan is the offensive line coach and is out there yelling and getting them in shape. It looks like the 2 first rounders are ready to come in and work.
Grady provided thoughts on the 2019 D. He is excited to play with Tyeler Davison that was acquired through free agency from Saints. They came out of college the same year, both in the fifth round. Jack Crawford is attacking and looking good. Big Shede (Ra’Shede Hageman) is back, Grady noted that he missed him as a teammate, the day in and out with Shede and his has picked up where he left off. Second year DT, Deadrin Senat is hungry for success. Grady commented that having AC back is big. John Kaminsky, rookie, is going to learn, he goes hard. Excited to see Takk McKinley and (Clemson teammate) Vic Beasley, Jr.
Grady said the best way to be good on this team is to be open to learn. Coach Simpson is doing a great job. DQ a defensive line guy, so the line knows they are getting good attention too.
So, with all this new money (realizing as a 5throunder, Jarrett’s original contract was $2.5 million for 4 years) what is Grady going to do for himself? He plans to pay off his house (purchased last year) and any other debt that he has. Of course, he plans to take care of his mom top to bottom. Grady plans to have his business in order, then put it away for his legacy. Grady said, this is “Such a blessing and I don’t take it lightly.” He doesn’t compare his deal to others in his position or on his team, he knows he is blessed to be where he is.
It is really Grady’s drive and heart that makes him special. He said, “It’s the things I don’t show and put out there that contribute to my success.” He recognized and appreciates his nutritionist to his massage therapist and anyone that contributes to what Grady is.
The 2019 expectations: Great to have everyone back healthy….Devonta Freeman is ready to tote that pill. We have one of the best receiving corps in league. D is happy to be back together. We really missed each other. We will do the work day in and day out. We have a hungry coaching staff. No excuses.
Asked when Grady started his post season work out. With no playoffs, he had extra time and started in January. He actually originally said July and laughed like he had never done nothing. Grady said he is as “strong as I have ever been” and works on his nutrition as well. He does not have a cook, any cooking at home, he cooks himself. He does have a good nutritionist. Grady again commented, “Blessed with good people around me.”
Grady’s work ethic and dedication is evident in everything he says and does, “The more work you put in, the more mutual respect” you have. He said that the “Brotherhood” the Falcons use is not just a word, it is the action and respect. “InBrotherhood” is real, when times get hard, you don’t fall apart, you have a sense of accountability to each other. Tough love is still love, they know they can’t get in their feelings about things, come to each other with respect.
Returning to the pre-Falcon days, when Clemson University was on the cusp, when they were near the big show, now, they are “dynasty-ish.” “Clemsoning-good but go down” but Head Coach Dabo Swinneysaid “Clemsoning is winning.” They were always having 10-11 win seasons. Dabo will tell you (and has nationally) said these teams and players laid the ground work for the champion seasons – and they teams know that and thank those players for that. Grady and Vic graduated and joined the NFL the year before the 2016 Clemson National Championship. They were on the team with some guys that just one the 2019 Championship as well. Dabo reminds them “this wasn’t overnight.” To go to Clemson wasn’t a sexy thing. The had a top 10 recruiting class, but now turning down 4 and 5 stars. And players like Grady are an advertisement for that…moving into the NFL and being good, successful, contributing young men.
Although it was trying waiting for college offers to come in, he admits that going to Clemson changed his life. He was a 2 star recruit, visited USC, Florida, Alabama and because he was too short or not the right DT prototype, he was not offered anything from them. After numerous visits, Dabo finally realized what Grady had to offer, and look at him now. But Grady (and his mother) never doubted himself, what he could do, his heart. Grady reiterated, put in your work, it is the story you don’t see that makes you. Grady has always just put his head down and kept working.
Asked for final comments on what you would tell kids today (and what he does tell them at his kids camps. Grady said, “Believe in yourself, no one else will. When it is hard, keep going. Keep grinding. Don’t listen to anyone else. Put the work in. Do not worry about others and acceptance.” You know yourself in your heart of hearts.
THIS is why I love Grady Jarrett so much and he is and has been my favorite Falcon since he arrived in Atlanta. Also, I’m a Clemson fan. But that doesn’t skew my judgement.
Thanks to Dukes and Bell for being the first guys to talk to Grady and for a great, long interview.