TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – You may have seen the hair before you knew his name. It’s hard to miss Grant Stuard —and his flowing locks — flying around the field this preseason.
“I always had some type of hair when I was younger,” Stuard said. “Even when I had a buzz cut, I had like a little design in my head. I was always ‘cool hair guy.’ My aunt always encouraged me to grow it out and my dad would tell me to grow it out. So one day I just decided to let it grow past the awkward phase and it just developed from there. Then I saw how cool it looked outside the helmet and I was like ‘oh yeah, this is the look right here.’”
“Cool hair guy” has also added “Mr. Irrelevant” to his nicknames as the final selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. He recently got the commemorative jersey in the mail and while he said he’s having fun with the distinction of being the 259th pick, Stuard is also on a mission to prove himself in the league.
“I’ve definitely kind of embraced it,” Stuard said of his new title. “Around here it doesn’t feel like it. I definitely feel relevant. I definitely feel accounted for here. But it’s definitely something I wear on my shoulder when I go against other guys that were drafted in front of me or just understanding how the league kind of sees me. I want to change that when I’m on the field.”
So far this preseason, he’s already started on that track, leading the Bucs with six tackles and notching his first NFL sack in their game against the Titans.
On top of his play as a linebacker, he’s also a huge special teams guy and really took a liking to that additional role when he was in college at the University of Houston.
The former Cougar is also a Houston native and gets the opportunity to return to his hometown Saturday, playing in NRG Stadium for the first time as a professional football player.
“Everybody’s going to be there,” Stuard said. “Hopefully I can get them turning up and I can make some plays. It’s going to mean a lot to me. The last time I was in NRG (Stadium) I had a decent game. We didn’t win when we played against Washington State at Houston so I’m definitely looking at going in there and making some plays and win the game. That’s my biggest focus this week.”