Editor's note: NFL.com is following five players who enter their respective training camps hoping to be one of their team's 53. Here are their stories as they strive to hold on to their NFL dreams.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Boomer Grigsby lives life at hyper-speed in hyperspace. In fact, he moves at such an accelerated pace that he couldn't see the pink slip coming from the Miami Dolphins last season after they cut the only other fullback on the roster and named him the starter for Week 1 against the New York Jets.
"I got fired the next day," Grigsby said.
He hasn't worked since -- or slowed down either -- and he's now being given another chance to play in the NFL.
Grigsby plans to add a little Red Bull and hot sauce to his already adventurous approach when he heads to the Houston Texans' training camp Friday. He doesn't have any delusions of unseating starting fullback Vonta Leach, but he does foresee decleating all comers on special teams and availing himself to anyone or anything that seeks his twisted potential to contribute.
Grigsby desperately wants to continue a football career that started with him being drafted in 2005 as a linebacker with the Kansas City Chiefs, then switching to fullback in 2007 in order to stay on the team for another season. The positions were in title only. Grigsby made his money on special teams.
For Grigsby, sweating the details of his comeback could take the fun out of everything. It's even tougher knowing that making the season-opening roster provides no guarantees and waiting for a call from another team that doesn't come is ulcer-inducing.
So Grigsby's journey to join the upstart Texans will be a thrill ride for the free-spirited 27-year-old, who freely quotes and patterns his life after William Wallace -- Mel Gibson's adrenaline-driven, blood-thirsty character in Braveheart.
"I'd much rather live life on a roller-coaster than a merry-go-round," said Grigsby, who drew a cult following as the Mohawk-sporting tough guy on HBO's Hard Knocks when the show followed the Chiefs' 2007 training camp.
And what about Grigsby's situation with the Texans?
"Houston is a team that has always kept two fullbacks," he said. "Right now, I'm two of two on the roster, but that by no means at all means that the No. 2 job is mine. I have to earn my right to stay, and that's what I plan on doing. I look at it as I'm auditioning for the Houston Texans. ... I'm also auditioning for the other 31 teams.
"I think the one courtesy the Texans will give me is that they'll release me -- if they release me -- at the end of training camp rather than the first game of the year. I cannot ask for more than that."
Grigsby has taken his hands off the support bar on his lap and thrown them above his head -- free-fall or not -- because he tormented himself for months after being cut by the Dolphins.
He was terrified to go home to his small town in Illinois because he'd been viewed as a local hero. Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle was renting Grigsby's house in Kansas City. Ultimately, Grigsby ended up renting a place that Croyle owned in the boondocks of Kansas, where he thought he would get in some Henry David Thoreau time before he was hired again in a week or so.
"I'm sitting there in complete limbo," Grigsby said. "I always had a direction, a goal I was obtaining. For the first time in my life, I was doing nothing.
"I was trying so hard to not let football define me. I couldn't do anything. I went to school and got my marketing degree with a minor in economics (from Illinois State). I was trying to do things to set myself up when football ended. I'm assuming the phone's going to ring, but days just keep going by. It was a miserable point in my life."
"I went to visit him on New Year's for his playoff game," Grigsby said. "I went for a three-day trip, and I've been gone seven months. It was the greatest tornado of awesomeness ever."
Grigsby, Allen and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald went to Dubai, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Egypt. They swam with great white sharks, went on safaris and completely redlined in life's fun meter. Grigsby moved in with Allen in Arizona and built a gym in his garage, where both of them worked out so maniacally that the neighbors called the police one evening because they thought a couple was arguing.
"We were trying to figure out which one of us sounded like the woman," Grigsby said.
Amid the flurry of "awesomeness," the Texans called to give Grigsby a tryout. He had been so crestfallen that he didn't think the team was serious, but he went and earned a shot. A frank conversation with Texans management in which he was assured he wasn't just a training-camp "body" made him feel better about letting go of the free-wheeling life he had been living and strapping on a helmet and shoulder pads again.
Now, it's up to Grigsby to guide the roller-coaster to higher heights.
"I don't know if (some players) have a true appreciation of the lifestyle of the league," Grigsby said. "I steal it from Braveheart, and I tell people all the time, 'Every man dies, but only some men really live.' I really believe that. I dedicate my life to living it to the fullest and appreciate things.
"Even if I am a long shot, a bubble player, it just makes success that much better when you achieve it. The lows make the highs that much higher. Sometimes (NFL players) lose perception of what it's all about. It's bigger than the dollar signs. It's even bigger than championships. I think the hard-working guys appreciate it more because it's so much harder for them to obtain. Something always tastes better when you work really hard to get it.
"If it was easy, it's just not as cool."