Will Grier was reportedly told Friday that he would be released, and Saturday would be his final game with the Dallas Cowboys. With the phone call, Dallas’ scheduled preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders turned in an audition to the 31 other NFL teams for Grier, a four-year NFL veteran.
Academy awards aren’t handed out in auditions, but he certainly put forth a performance that caught the attention of several organizations around the league.
Grier scored two touchdowns, throwing two and scoring two with his feet, threw for 305 yards, and completed 29 of his 35 pass attempts. The former Mountaineer also rushed for 53 yards, leading the Cowboys to a 31-16 win.
“I was motivated. It was tough. It was a weird situation. And I think at the end of the day, I rely on the fact that I know how to play football, and I’m good at it.” Grier said after the game. “So, I knew when the game started, I could just play football, and that’s what I did.”
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Grier was in great command of the offense. Grier led the Cowboys on scoring drives in all four quarters, and led touchdown-scoring drives in each of the first three periods of the game.
“I thought he handled it very well. I just asked him to go out there and play you a** off tonight. What a great opportunity,” McCarthy said. “You could see right away he was using his feet – he threw for two touchdowns and ran for two touchdowns.”
A four-touchdown performance by a quarterback isn’t the norm in the preseason, as teams generally rotate players at all positions. Given the chance to play the whole game, and have Dallas’ franchise quarterback Dak Prescott in his ear as acting offensive coordinator, Grier put forth a type of performance McCarthy said he hasn’t seen this century.
“For a preseason quarterback performance, that might be the best performance I’ve seen since 1999, Matt Hasselback had some of these. I’m just so proud of him,” said the Dallas head coach.
Grier called the experience “bittersweetweet,” adding there were “mixed emotions” about his situation.
As he faces the reality that he will be searching for his third professional football team to play for since entering the NFL in 2019, Grier tried to keep perspective on his upcoming transition.
“It’s tough, but I’ve been through tougher stuff. I’ve got a lot of respect for this organization and the Jones family. I understand it’s a business at the end of the day, and I respect that,” said Grier. “The hardest part on me is just leaving this place, to be honest. I got really close with the team, and that’s the toughest part about what we do. I’ve been through harder things. I’ll rebound and be just fine.”
Grier is still on Dallas’ roster as of this writing, though he is likely to be officially released over the next 48 hours. His audition for the other organizations in the NFL was undoubtedly successful.
Asked if he had a message for any prospective team thinking of signing him following the show he put on Saturday night, he had this to say:
“I think my play speaks for itself [and] what I can do on the field. I’m a team-first guy, and I say to them to ask the people around me.”