Grisham looking for staying power

Tyler Grisham

Former Clemson wide receiver Tyler Grisham starts training camp Friday with the Pittsburgh Steelers. CUTigers recently spoke to Grisham about the NFL and his days at Clemson.

When you think back to your time at Clemson, what did you most enjoy?
Grisham: When you compare college football to the NFL, in college you enter with a signing class. You know you're going to be with those guys for four or five years. I didn't redshirt, so I spent four great years with a group of guys. I got to become really good friends with my teammates.

Do you get back to Clemson often?
Grisham: I haven't had the opportunity very much. I'll come during the off-week this season, if I make the team. I'll come down for that game and hang out. During the off-season, I'll come down and spend a couple of weeks and see a couple of families I got to know in Clemson that are really supportive of me and my wife, Maggie…when I go back in town, everyday I'm seeing somebody. I really enjoy going back.

When you look at the direction of the program under coach Swinney, how do you see Clemson five years from now?
Grisham: I will say that I loved coach (Dabo) Swinney as a receiver coach. He was great. I give him all the credit to him, for getting me to where I am now. He has the leadership and knowledge of the game. The type of person he is—great character on and off the field. He's a great friend and a great mentor. He's an awesome guy. As a head coach, he obviously did a great job in his first year, even as an interim head coach. He came in and everyone was excited that he stepped in and filled the rolled as head coach. He did great for us. Five years from now, it's hard to say. No one would have thought he would have been in the ACC Championship in his first full season as head coach. He continues to bring in great recruits because of his personality and also the great coaches he has around him.

How was training camp last year? How different was it, making the jump from the college game to the professional game?
Grisham: Camp in college was extremely difficult. We dreaded that month of camp. I was expecting the worst in the NFL, thinking it would be twice as hard and grueling and tiresome. It wasn't as bad. You don't have conditioning. The game is predicated on knowledge of the game and knowing where to be and knowing your plays. Being able to think on your feet and making quick decisions, that's why you have guys playing in the league for 12-plus years and they've lost a step or two or three. They have such a great knowledge of the game. They know where to be and when to be there. That's probably one big difference that I realized early on. Very few mistakes are made. The ones that are making mistakes are the ones that aren't going to be sticking around very long. You have to learn from your mistakes.

You spent a majority of the season the practice squad. What was it like going through practice all week and not playing on Sunday?
Grisham: It was difficult. You feel that you're working extremely hard and giving a look for the defense. I was doing really well in practice and making some good plays. They're not really concerned with you if you're on the practice squad. You might catch the coaches' eye, but they're concerned about the guys that are going to be on the field. It's just preparing, really for your teammates.

What was it like joining the team late in the season?
Grisham: It was great. I wasn't sure if I was going to be pulled up. They cut a receiver a few weeks before then. I knew that I was going to be the next guy, unless they brought somebody in. I had no idea I was going to be pulled up until the day we were travelling to go to Cleveland. I had to run back to my apartment and get my things to get prepared to ride the bus to Cleveland. It was great. I only got one rep. It was an offensive rep. I ran a pretty good route, got open and the ball wasn't thrown to me. When I came off the field, coach (Mike) Tomlin was like, ‘Welcome to the NFL.' That was pretty cool to get that from your head coach. It's something I won't forget, that's for sure. It was surreal.

How surreal was it making your first catch against the Ravens?
Grisham: I don't really remember the ball being in the air and I really don't remember catching it. I just got up and the ball was in my hands. It was one of those things. It was great. My family drove up from Alabama because it was after Christmas. They drove up Christmas Day. It was cool they got to see it in person. It was my mom, dad and two younger brothers with my wife. They were all in the stands watching. It was a big third-down catch, which was cool, too. It was third-and-four and I ran a 12-yard in-route. I wasn't thinking I was going to get it. Looking back, it was pretty amazing that Ben (Roethlisberger) looked to me to make that play to set up the game winning field goal.

Do you have any expectations before camp, for yourself?
Grisham: I expect to have a good preseason. Lord willing, I still healthy and confident. It'll be interesting to see how well I do and how confident I am, getting out there on the field and proving myself. I've worked hard. All I can do is hope that I get out there and perform like I have been. I definitely would like to be on the active roster. I was on the practice roster for 12 weeks. I would like to contribute more on the roster and playing in the games.

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