|Ryan Brett Grant|
He was originally signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2005 but was traded to the Packers shortly before the 2007 season in exchange for a future sixth round draft pick. Grant had a successful first season with the Packers, rushing for almost 1,000 yards, including five 100+ yard games in 10 starts. He set franchise records with 201 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in the Packers' divisional playoff game win against the Seattle Seahawks, a performance for which he was heavily praised, as they went on to reach the NFC Championship Game.
In 2001, Grant went to the University of Notre Dame to play football for the Fighting Irish while majoring in sociology and computer applications. He made few appearances during his freshman year, playing in just five games under coach Bob Davie as the Fighting Irish finished 5–6 for the season. Davie would not be retained, and Tyrone Willingham was named head coach for Grant's sophomore season.
During starting running back Julius Jones' absence, Willingham gave Grant starts for all twelve games in 2002, and Grant rushed for over 1,000 yards with 9 touchdowns, including four games with 100+ yards. Grant's best game during his time at Notre Dame came against Air Force, as he gained 190 yards rushing and a touchdown in a 21–14 Fighting Irish win. The following week, the Fighting Irish defeated Florida State and were ranked a season-high #4 on the AP Poll. Notre Dame finished the season at 10–3 and ranked #17 on both the AP Poll and Coaches' Poll.
The 2003 season saw Grant split time with a returning Julius Jones. After starting the first five games, Grant only managed 242 rushing yards before being dropped. Indeed, Jones took over in the fifth game and ran for 262 yards and 2 touchdowns against Pitt, a school record, in a 20–14 victory. Grant did not start any of the final seven games, and he rushed for 268 yards in that time, leaving him with 510 yards for his junior year.
For his senior year, Grant was named a team captain for the Fighting Irish, but split time with a new running back, Darius Walker. Playing in nine games, Grant only managed to pass 100 yards once, with 112 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 27–9 win over Navy. After injuring his hamstring, Grant's playing time was limited and Walker took over the starting job at running back. Grant finished the year with 515 yards and 5 touchdowns. In Grant's final year, Notre Dame finished 6–6 and were never ranked higher than 24th by the AP or Coaches' polls. For his collegiate career, Grant ran for a total of 2,220 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Grant applied for the 2005 NFL Draft after his senior year and was invited to the 2005 NFL Scouting Combine. Scouts did not credit Grant with exceptional speed, but he was clocked at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Combine.
He would go undrafted.
New York GiantsEdit
Signing as an undrafted free agent, Grant spent 2005 on the New York Giants practice squad. He missed the entire 2006 season, however, after a non-football related injury threatened his career. Grant was at a nightclub when someone bumped into him; when he went to brace himself, his left arm went through several champagne glasses, severing an artery, a tendon and the ulnar nerve in his left arm. Grant almost bled to death and doctors at the time told him he might not regain the use of his left hand, although he did recover over time.
Green Bay PackersEdit
Grant was traded to the Green Bay Packers on September 1, 2007 in exchange for a future sixth-round draft pick, and he played as the third-string running back behind Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn for the first six games of the season.
During the Packers' Week 8 match-up against the Denver Broncos, Wynn suffered a shoulder injury that ruled him out for the game; Grant took over in the second quarter and ran for 104 yards in a 19–13 overtime win. He scored his first rushing touchdown on November 11 in a 34–0 win against the Minnesota Vikings. Grant started each of the last ten games for the Packers, and by the end of the season, he was averaging 5.1 yards per carry and had five 100+ yard games and 8 rushing touchdowns. His mark of 929 yards in the final ten games of the season was second in the National Football League for that time period to LaDanian Tomlinson, who had 944 yards. Grant was voted the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week for the games played on November 11–12. He ran for 119 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, making him the first running back to pick up 100 yards against the Vikings' second-ranked rush defense all season. Grant won the award for a second time that season for games played between December 6–10, rushing for 156 yards, a career high, and a touchdown in a 38–17 win over the Oakland Raiders.
In the Packers' divisional playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, Grant fumbled twice in the first four minutes; both of the resulting drives led to touchdowns for the Seahawks. Grant made up for these early mistakes by going on to rush for 201 yards and 3 touchdowns, both of which set franchise records for Packers' post-season games, as the Packers were 42–20 winners. Several people in the Packers organization praised Grant for his performance in the Seattle game, including Packers' coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Brett Favre, who was quoted as saying of Grant, "[w]hen he got the opportunity, he made the most of it. It sure turned us from one-dimensional into something totally different."
The following week, Grant rushed for only 29 yards in a 23–20 overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game. He finished second overall for rushing yards in the 2007–08 playoffs with 230 (behind Lawrence Maroney of the New England Patriots). At the end of the 2007 season, Grant became an exclusive rights free agent, meaning the Packers have exclusive rights to sign him, but if they choose not to, he will be eligible to sign with any team.
On June 1, 2008, the Green Bay Press Gazette announced that Grant was offered a contract to stay with the Packers. On August 4, 2008, it was announced that Grant signed a 4-year deal that could be worth up to $30 million.
After a somewhat disappointing season in 2008, where Grant rushed for only four touchdowns and 3.9 yards per carry, Grant had a bounce-back year in 2009, where he rushed for 1,253 yards, third in the NFC, and 11 touchdowns, second in the NFC. He also added 4.4 yards per carry. He was named a back-up alternate for the 2010 Pro Bowl.
During the 2010 season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 12, 2010, Grant suffered a season-ending ankle injury and was placed on injured reserve.
He underwent ankle surgery on September 21, 2010 and is expected to show up for the 2011 off-season conditioning.
- Career statistics and player information from NFL.com