Hard Knocks

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// photo by Agnes Lopez

In January, the Jacksonville Sharks announced that veteran AFL quarterback Tommy Grady had been signed to the roster on a one-year contract. Grady comes to the team having established all-time, single-season league records for passing touchdowns (142), completions (507) and yards (5,870) and tying the all-time record for touchdown passes in a single game (12). The 29-year-old Grady caught up with Jax Mag after a recent practice to discuss his family life, his adopted hometown and his two-year-plan (hint: it includes a lot of wins).

• Grady lives with his wife, Lexi, and two year old daughter, Olivia, on Jacksonville’s Northside. “My wife and I met in Utah when I got there in 2011 [to play for the Utah Blaze]. Eventually, we had Olivia and we just got married three months ago. And I signed to the Sharks in January, so there’s been a lot of change [in my life] recently.”

• Though he says he doesn’t have one particular mentor or football “idol,” Grady admits that there is one player he has always enjoyed watching. “Growing up, I loved to watch Tom Brady play. I don’t have a particular team I root for, but I do like watching the Patriots, just to see him.”

• In addition to football, Grady enjoys playing golf. “I love to do anything outside and I’ve been golfing for a while. I haven’t been to [TPC] Sawgrass yet but we’re planning to go soon.” While growing up in Huntington Beach, California, he spent a lot of time surfing—but a growth spurt caused him to shelve that hobby. “I don’t really surf anymore. It’s harder, now that I’m so tall,” says the 6’7” quarterback.

• Grady’s football career began at the University of Oklahoma, where he redshirted in 2003, and played as backup in 2004 before transferring to the University of Utah in 2005. After college, he quarterbacked for the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz (then an af2 team) before moving to the AFL with his team in 2010. Arena football, he says, took some adjustment. “It’s a lot faster [than the NFL] and it takes some getting used to. It’s still football, but it’s almost like a different game.” During his record-breaking 2012 season, he earned the title of Offensive Player of the Year, as well as League MVP.

• Asked where he wants to be within the next two years, Grady doesn’t hesitate. “Hopefully I will have won a championship. That’s why I came to the Sharks, honestly. It’s the best roster [in the league] and offers the best chance to win.”