Robert Noles/Opelika Observer
By Morgan Bryce
The past two months have been a homecoming of sorts for Opelika native and current Jacksonville Jaguars running back Corey Grant, who recently completed his student internship as a physical education teacher at Morris Avenue Intermediate School.
Grant, a former Auburn University tailback, left school early following the 2014 season to pursue an NFL career, eventually signing with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in May 2015.
Growing up with his father Ike, a former Lafayette High School head football coach and educator, Grant said the importance of education was instilled in him at a young age, and that weighed heavily in his decision to set aside some time this offseason to come back and finish his degree.
“I know (foot)ball is going to end one day, and when that time comes, I can just have a smooth transition rather than having to go back to school and deal with everything else,” Grant said. “Also, growing up, education was so important in my household with both my mom and dad going to college and my dad being a teacher, so coming back and getting my degree was something I knew I needed to get done.”
Under the supervision of Morris’s physical education teacher Chris Rhodes, Grant stayed busy compiling lesson plans, educating students on maintaining proper fitness and diet and teaching and leading the entire class himself for 10 class days.
“I really wanted somebody to help teach my class that wasn’t necessarily a professional athlete, but somebody that has gone from this community that has worked really hard and ultimately been given the chance at the highest level of athletics,” Rhodes said. “To have his knowledge of athletics, and nutrition and work ethic and physical fitness on the highest level, I think that really helped my kids.”
Besides imparting a deeper appreciation of physical fitness to his students, Grant said his main goal is to use his platform to be a source of inspiration to kids and adults alike that hard work can get one anywhere in life.
“There’s never been a situation where I’ve given 110 percent and not gotten anything out of it. Sometimes you work hard towards something, and it may not go the way you want it to … but I still got something out of it … whether it was a lesson learned or didn’t fully get what I wanted,” Grant said. “I try to tell these kids to always work hard, set your goals and remind them that sports aren’t everything.”
Grant’s last day at Morris was Friday, and following his graduation from Auburn Saturday afternoon, he will head back to Jacksonville to participate in offseason workouts in preparation for the coming summer training camp.
When his football career ends, Grant said he plans to look for career opportunities as either a strength and conditioning coach or physical education teacher.
To follow Grant’s gridiron career, visit http://www.jaguars.com.