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Saints' Grant full of dough but still hungry

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Monday, July 30, 2007 By John DeShazier JACKSON, MISS. -- How do you stay hungry when you've already been fed? Not an appetizer. The complete buffet, stocked with every imaginable favorite, five times over. Charles Grant doesn't hesitate. The one-time ...

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Old 07-30-2007, 06:19 AM   #1
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Cool Saints' Grant full of dough but still hungry

Monday, July 30, 2007
By John DeShazier

JACKSON, MISS. -- How do you stay hungry when you've already been fed?

Not an appetizer. The complete buffet, stocked with every imaginable favorite, five times over.

Charles Grant doesn't hesitate. The one-time franchise player, now long-term signee (seven years, potentially worth $63 million, with $20 million guaranteed) promises to be the same player or better now that he has gotten paid. The Saints are counting on it -- otherwise, the franchise wouldn't have met the defensive end's price.

"It has nothing to do with money," Grant said, though he was less than pleased with having the franchise tag stuck on him and even less pleased with the initial round of negotiations.

"I never wanted to be a distraction," he said. "You want what you deserve. That's what I felt I deserved. It wasn't a long fuss, wasn't a long turmoil. I knew it was going to get done when (Coach Sean Payton) called me and told me, 'You'll be here in a month's time.'

"Money is stability for your life. (The contract) tells me that they paid me, they respect me, my teammates were backing me, the head coach respects me, the owner respects me, and they expect me to go out there and perform to my best.

"I don't want to be one of those guys you look at and say, 'Hey, they gave him the money, he don't want to play.' I want to go out there and be hungrier than ever, help this organization win a Super Bowl, go to the Pro Bowl, and help this defense be a better defense than what it was last year."

A good starting place for all that will be Grant continuing to play at a high level.

After an awful 2005 season, when he had just 2 1/2 sacks, he bumped up the total to six last season. That still is down from his 2003 and 2004 totals of 10 and 10 1/2 sacks, respectively. And even defensive ends have to be judged on more than sacks; optimally, a team wants a complete player, one it doesn't have to take off the field on certain downs.

But reality is that defensive ends largely are judged on, and paid by, their ability to sack quarterbacks or to hurry them. Grant's 36 sacks in the past five seasons are more than any current Saints player, and the reason most believe he had a rebound season in 2006 is because of the increased sack total; he was credited with more tackles in 2005 (75) than in 2006 (71). So Grant knows exactly what's expected and the route he has to take to get there.

"Just stay hustling," he said. "You've got to keep your motor running all the time. That's the thing about it in this business. If you keep an open motor, then you're going to always make plays."

Make enough of them, and you can build a foundation with a team.

Grant, a first-round pick in 2002, is entering his sixth season as a Saint. That makes him, at 28, the fifth-longest tenured Saints player, behind long snapper Kevin Houser and cornerback Fred Thomas ('00), and running back Deuce McAllister and injured safety/special teams stud Steve Gleason ('01).

If he makes it to the end of his contract -- and the deal is back-loaded, so the last three years might make it difficult for the Saints to retain Grant if he doesn't restructure -- he likely will be the longest tenured. And he certainly will have been one of the most productive.

"It's six years for me," Grant said. "It's been a blessing. I think I'll retire here, which is a blessing, when you know that people have put six, seven years of investments in you (via the new contract) and you're in your sixth season.

"That gives you 12, 13 years in this business, and that's a wonderful thing. And I hope I can get all 13 in New Orleans. But you've got to set examples for the younger kids, let them know it's not an easy business. You've got to work every year, year in and year out, you've always got to stay disciplined and stay humble and stay hungry in this business."

Even when you've already been fed. Especially, though, if the best meal -- winning a Super Bowl -- still is out there to be had.

"It's different," Grant said of the belief that the Saints can reach the Super Bowl. "My first time in the playoffs was last year, and went all the way to the NFC championship. And we've got that same football team back, but better.

"So for us, why not talk Super Bowl? Everybody plays this game to get in the Super Bowl. We buried what we did last year so everybody's ultimate goal is to play in Arizona. This football team, we have a legitimate chance to play (in Super Bowl XLII) in Arizona. Like Coach always tells us, it's on us."

It's on every one of them to stay hungry, even after getting a taste.

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Old 07-30-2007, 03:02 PM   #2
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Re: Saints' Grant full of dough but still hungry

I hope he and Will Smith are considered the best DE tandem in the league.
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:35 AM   #3
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Re: Saints' Grant full of dough but still hungry

Originally Posted by saintsrule View Post
I hope he and Will Smith are considered the best DE tandem in the league.
They're definitely one of the top 5 tandems in the league
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