NFL's Last Draft Pick Sees His Blessing
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As the last pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, Grant Stuard redefines the annual Mr. Irrelevant nickname! The All-Conference linebacker and Captain at the University of Houston tackled the struggle of raising four siblings, embracing his 259th selection as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer with significant perspective!
Question: “Let’s go back to draft day, what was most memorable for you?”
Grant: “It was a crazy time in general, even the morning of as you’re getting calls from varying GMs from teams. They just sound so sure about drafting you on this day. But probably the most memorable part was God had told me that I was going to get drafted, through a person, but you know, going into round 7 I started to doubt it. My wife came to me citing scripture and asking me, ‘Do the birds worry?’ How much more does God love you? Hearing that call from Tampa was amazing!”
Question: “What makes the Bucs a unique team for you to land with?”
Grant: “I think the family atmosphere, having coaches and having a team that demands excellence, coming into a team that just won the Super Bowl and understanding that that is their goal, that’s really what they’re trying to get done! I thrive in environments like that! My teammates here! I feel I’m growing as a person and as a player here.”
Question: “Mr. Irrelevant is now relevant?”
Question: “At least once a year.”
Question: “How does that tag suit you?
Grant: “I’ve always been kind of somebody with a chip on my shoulder. Always was somebody with something to earn, something to prove. I’ve always been scrappy. No matter where I’m at on the depth chart, you know coming into Houston, being a fourth string player, working my way up to first string. I’m used to be looked over. That’s already naturally been there.”
Question: “Your life growing up, you had to be anything but irrelevant. You had to be necessary. You had to be substantial. Describe your family circumstances.”
Grant: “My dad was in prison, in little different stints. My mom was a drug addict and worked in the strip clubs. It was just me and my siblings the majority of my childhood. There was a lot of absenteeism from them. It was just us! I was faced with some harsh realities as I had to step up! I had to learn how to drive a car at 11-years-old. I had to make some Robin Hood type decisions to make sure we ate, and stuff like that. I always felt responsible for them and it was always a grind from 8 years old. I was always on that quest.”
Question: “The ebbs and flows of uncertainty. What’s your encouragement to those that feel that their parents were absent?”
Grant: “My encouragement to those people who could still be dealing with some remnants of what happened to them when they were younger – God is a perfect father! A perfect caregiver. He is a perfect friend. He has the power to remove any ties of hate. I built a lot of anger. There was all of these negative effects that happened from growing up in an environment like that. Like nothing changed. I tried everything. Nothing changed until I truly gave my life to Christ. It was definitely radical.”
Question: “How do you explain that transformation? What do you call it?”
Grant: “The new man! I came as this individual who was toxic, who was manipulative, who lied, who was hurtful, who was self-seeking. It had grown to this nonacceptance of authority, like nobody could tell me what to do. I think if we die to ourselves and ask Him to take presence inside of us with a heart of repentance and asking Him to refine us.... make me more like Him and really just yielding to that process.”
Question: “The easy adjustment is bitterness …”
Grant: It says that, ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only son for us,’ right? And if He is doing all of this to show us that He loves us, He loves us so well, is He not worthy of being loved back? How do we do that? In seeking Him and loving Him."
Question: “What society might call those on the margin - is it easier to feel empathy when they involve Mom and Dad?
Grant: “Absolutely. After giving my life to Christ, the things I was doing to hurt others and the type of person that I was being was so negative, it really began to dissipate extremely fast. The struggles with my parents and with the people around me, that stuff was a constant battle. How do I forgive them? Do I help them? I was probably one of the only people that consistently believed in my mom. She has her first real job, in I don’t know, as long as I think I’ve been alive. She’s living in a recovery home in Tampa. She’s 7 months sober. She’s doing so much better! And now we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to adopt my younger sister which has been amazing! Knowing and seeing how Christ can redeem me, it really gives me the confidence and patience with those people going through that type of stuff.”
Question: “What fuels your intensity when you’re on the field?
Question: “Scripture tells us that the first will be last. The last will be first. How does that look through the grid of Mr. Irrelevant?”
Grant: "Coming from being a leader at Houston to now, I’m just like a little grunt for the Buccaneers... I really had to not talk as much, maybe learn some more and maybe humble myself. When you look into scripture, talking about the last being first, the humble, the meek, maybe you’re poor, maybe you’re poor in spirit, but you are doing your best with what He has given you, and maybe nobody sees you, but He does. You’re storing your treasures up there, not here. That’s where fulfillment is found!”
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