Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ return specialist Janarion Grant wants to prove NFL teams wrong for not signing him during the 2020 season.
The 27-year-old opted out of his CFL contract last August hoping to be signed south of the border, but a contract offer didn’t materialize.
“Most definitely. I’m always trying to prove any and everybody wrong that has any doubt about me doing anything great in my life. They’re just on the outside trying to look in, but every day I’m staying positive and keep going,” Grant said in a videoconference.
The native of Trilby, Fla. inked a one-year extension with the Blue Bombers in February and received an $8,000 signing bonus. Winnipeg’s coaching staff has been giving Grant reps at receiver during training camp in the Manitoba capital with the potential for increased touches during the season.
“I can bring a lot of things catching the ball. I know I’m just labeled as a special teams guy but I know in my arsenal I’m a receiver first and special teams — altogether, I love everything,” Grant said.
“He’s paid attention in the off-season and learned his playbook and plays,” said head coach Mike O’Shea. “He’s come in and caught a lot of footballs. That doesn’t preclude him from doing special teams by any stretch of the imagination — he’s a premier returner in this league.”
Grant played 11 games for the Grey Cup champions in 2019, returning 41 punts for 591 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came during his CFL debut. He also recorded 25 kickoff returns for 600 yards and one missed field goal return for 61 yards.
“You don’t want guys just standing around, you want to be able to use them,” O’Shea said. “The next step for Janarion was to have a much better understanding of the offence and come in prepared to compete for a position on offence.”
Grant was named one of the CFL’s top 100 players by 3DownNation this winter with retired Calgary Stampeders’ punter Rob Maver saying, “Retirement has brought many welcome changes. One of them is no longer punting to Janarion Grant.”
“It’s going well overall. I’m always itching to do more, but not too much. You try do too much, you’re going to get knocked off your cylinder,” Grant said.
Grant wants to find the ideal balance and show NFL decision-makers he deserves another opportunity by flourishing in 2021.