Miami Dolphins

Shunned at Florida, a star at West Virginia. Now Will Grier is out to conquer the NFL

Grier: The ultimate goal is to win Super Bowls and championships and be a consistent winner,

Chris Grier, the Miami Dolphins GM discusses his goals during a press conference at the Dolphins' training facility in Davie, FL
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Chris Grier, the Miami Dolphins GM discusses his goals during a press conference at the Dolphins' training facility in Davie, FL

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier can’t change his past.

But as draft season clicks into gear, the one-time Florida quarterback is doing everything he can to set the record straight about his time in Gainesville, his ability as a passer, why he skipped the Mountaineers’ bowl game — and anything else you ask him.

Grier has a reason to go full-disclosure at this week’s Senior Bowl.

There are already questions about his arm strength (which he scoffed at Tuesday; “I’m the best quarterback in this draft. I think my arm talent is there,” he said.).

Questions about his character would be a double whammy.

So here’s Will Grier, suspended for most of the 2015 Gators season for taking a banned substance, in his own words about his whirlwind college career:

“It’s been a wonderful journey. I’ve dealt with a lot of adversity and came out a stronger person. I’ve been surrounded by good people at West Virginia that have really helped me. [Jake Spavital] and Dana [Holgorsen] were very awesome with me in my development. They let me game plan. I was in a lot of coaching meetings. They let me be very involved. The trust went both ways. They let me have a lot of freedom on the field. It was huge for my quarterback development. I’m very confident in my abilities. But also my knowledge of football. It should be an easy seamless transition for me to the NFL and I’m looking forward to it.”

Holgorsen was Grier’s head coach and Spavital his offensive coordinator at West Virginia, which offered Grier a scholarship in early 2016 after Florida made it clear he was no longer welcome there. Grier insists he failed a drug test because he made an innocent mistake: He says he took an over-the-counter supplement Ligandrol without consulting the team’s medical staff.

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“I think they all know,” Grier said, referring to NFL teams and what happened at Florida. “I think for the most part I’ve talked to them this week. The story is out there. It was an unfortunate thing that really hurt me. I poured my heart and soul into that program. I wanted to stay there. I poured my heart and soul into those teammates. I led by example there. I pride myself on outworking everybody and it was really rough on me. I feel like I let my teammates down.”

Grier insists that he’s taken “thousands” of drug test since then, and passed each one. The idea that he’s a drug cheat seems to offend him on a visceral level.

“That’s just not who I am,” he said. “And I would never let my teammates down in any circumstance again. That’s one of the things I learned. Moving forward, it’s a non-issue. Any organization that gives me a chance will get me. And I’ll pour my heart into the organization and do whatever it takes to win football games.”

Grier had a chance to convince the Dolphins of that here this week. Miami general manager Chris Grier, who is leading the coach-less Dolphins’ delegation here, has set up one-on-one interviews with all the top quarterbacks, including Will Grier, Missouri’s Drew Lock, Duke’s Daniel Jones and Washington State’s Gardner Minshew II.

For Will Grier, Tuesday was his first time on a football field in weeks. When he opted against playing in the Mountaineers’ bowl game, most assumed it was because he did not want to do anything to jeopardize his draft stock.

But in truth, he wasn’t right physically.

“I actually tore my ankle up in the Texas game,” Grier said. “Didn’t really put that out to the media. But it was pretty rough the last few games. And Dana and I sat down. I as planning on playing for about a week. I was getting treatment and preparing to play and me and Dana sat down and he thought it was best to get Jack Allison some reps. And get some younger guys some reps in the bowl game. He knew how important it was for me to get healthy and chase my dream.”

Grier said he still is not 100 percent, but expects to be so by the Combine.

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Adam Beasley has covered the Dolphins for the Miami Herald since 2012, and has worked for the newspaper since 2006. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications and has written about sports professionally since 1996.
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