Scott MichauxSports columnist for The Augusta Chronicle. |

Augusta mom didn't see son save Super Bowl win

Deon Grant's mother says she couldn't watch game's final moments

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In the heart-stopping moments while the ball hung in the air before Deon Grant and a bevy of New York Giants knocked it down in the end zone to win the Super Bowl, our local hero’s mother wasn’t among the millions holding their collective breath.

New York Giants safety Deon Grant (34), linebacker Jacquian Williams (57) and safety Kenny Phillips (21) block the final pass to New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (81).  Associated Press
Associated Press
New York Giants safety Deon Grant (34), linebacker Jacquian Williams (57) and safety Kenny Phillips (21) block the final pass to New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (81).

Team page: Josey Eagles

“I have to tell you the truth, because I know nothing but the truth, but I didn’t watch it at the end,” Joyce Wright said of the climactic desperation pass that her son helped break up.

Wright suffers from the same thing many parents deal with: anxiety about her children.

Consequently, some years ago she got in the habit of leaving her stadium seat or spot in front of the television to find the most private place she could to sit down and pray.

“I never watch at the end,” she acknowledged Mon­­day from her Evans home, where she caught most of the game. “Even when I go to the games, I leave the game at the end and go and pray. I’ve been doing that ever since he’s been playing ball.”

That private retreat is usually the bathroom, where she spent much of the second half of Super Bowl XLVI as the tension mounted.

Goddaughter Tiva Abreu gave her updates and tried to coax her out to watch the final, nail-biting 17 seconds as the Giants defense tried to stop New England’s Tom Brady from capping another championship rally.

Wright just prayed a little harder.

“I just stayed in that spot and prayed the entire time until it was over,” she said.

Abreu told her that as soon as she started praying, the Patriots receivers started dropping passes.

Modern technology has been a blessing for Wright. After the outcome was safely decided and the Giants were rubbing and kissing the Lombardi Trophy, Wright backed up her DVR to see the parts she’d missed.

“I went back to see how they got to 21 points and the part where (Grant) put his hand on the ball at the end,” she said.

Grant, a former Josey High School star, understands that his mother isn’t always watching when the game is too close at the end, but she often pretends she never took her eyes off her only son.

“Sometimes I have to tell him a little white lie: ‘I saw you when you made that play, babe!’”  she said with a laugh. “Somebody will come up and tell me, ‘Did you see what Deon did?’ I’ll say no, but hurry up and tell me because I need to know when he asks me.”

Grant calls his mother after every game. regardless of the outcome. He called after all the interviews were over Sunday night, celebrating in the company of his sisters Brittney Wright and Felicia Grant and his 11-year-old daughter, Deyon. Grant’s aunt and uncle, Gloria and Ricky Mays, also attended the game in Indiana­polis.

“He called to let me know that everything was good,” his mother said. “He was very excited. He’s going to be a player until he can’t play anymore, but he wanted to have that ring. It was something that was in his heart.”

Wright said Grant had a feeling this Super Bowl victory was coming when he re-signed with the Giants before the season.

“He spoke it,” she said. “He said, ‘I feel like this is my year.’ That’s why he was ready to go back to New York. He just felt it.

“The truth be told – and
I don’t say it just because he’s my child – but the blessing is just on him. There’s just been a great blessing
on his life. I told him as
long as you remain humble and stay in the will of God, he’s going to continue to do the things that you desire. He says, ‘Delight yourself unto him that he will give you the desires of your heart.’ ”

Grant has now been a key part of winning a state championship (Josey, 1995), national collegiate championship (Tennessee, 1998) and world championship,
so his desires in football have certainly been realized.

Prayer was a big theme for Super Bowl XLVI. Brady’s wife, Gisele Bund­chen, got a lot of publicity for her prayer circle request on behalf of her husband’s team, and when those prayers weren’t answered, she had less forgiving things to say about the Patriots receivers.

Grant provided a spiritual spark for Giants teammate Mario Manningham, who ended up with the biggest play of the game: a spectacular catch along the sideline near midfield to trigger New York’s game-winning drive.

“He was down because he had got one catch the first half and he was telling me, ‘D, say a prayer for me because I need to get involved in this game to help our team out,’” Grant told the New York Post. “I said, ‘What God has for you is meant for you.’ I said, ‘You just make sure you prepare when that ball comes to you. Because it’s going to come to you the second half.’”

In the end, it came down to Grant and the Giants defense to prevent the Patriots from rallying in the final 57 seconds.

When Brady heaved the 51-yard pass into the end zone, Grant and defensive mates Kenny Phil­lips and Jacquian Williams went up around Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez and swatted the ball down.

After 12 years in the NFL and 187 consecutive starts, Grant doesn’t have anything else to prove in football.

His mother believes
that if there’s a team that needs him, though, he’ll continue rather than retire on top.

“As long as he has an able body, he’ll continue to play,” she said.

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Scott Michaux
Scott Michaux 02/06/12 - 05:35 pm
For those who'd like to see

For those who'd like to see Deon Grant's postgame interview from the podium in Indianapolis, here's a link:

Riverman1 02/06/12 - 07:28 pm
Deon has had a great career.

Deon has had a great career. What's amazing is he has done all this with the hip with the plate for all these years.

BlackJack7 02/07/12 - 05:48 am

An VERY VERY VERY PROUD MOMENT for the T.W. Josey Family!!
Deon's our third Eagle Brother to bring home a Super Bowl ring (Jimmie Johnson c/o '84 & my teammate won one with the Washington Redskins in '92 & Arnold Harrison c/o '99 won it with the Steelers in '06).
Yes ladies and gentlemen! We have the most Super Bowl rings in the CSRA!!!!

augfootballfan 02/07/12 - 08:52 am
most super bowl rings???

most super bowl rings??? thats what u are hanging the TW hat on?? cmon man. Deon has been a great ambassador for Augusta and a very good pro, but SAVE the super bowl?? Really??? i guess Phillips,, who actually batted the ball and Williams were just spectators. The Super Bowl was saved by Manninghams catch and Eli's throw or the Giants would have lost. A Hail Mary attempt broken up at the buzzer didnt save the Super Bowl, Lets be REAL in our reporting

howcanweknow 02/07/12 - 08:57 am
Yeah, from what I've seen of

Yeah, from what I've seen of the replay I don't think Deon even touched the ball.

doglover123 02/07/12 - 09:44 am
Augfootballfan, with all the

Augfootballfan, with all the negative things that are said about the students that come out of Josey, PLEASE let us fellow graduates have our little bragging-rights, and enjoy the fact that something positive has is FINALLY being said about our alma mater.

Regardless of whether or not Deon touched the ball, the fact that he was involved in the play is enough for me!! I'm very proud of him and happy that he has earned a Super Bowl ring. He is well-deserving of it.

augfootballfan 02/07/12 - 11:01 am
thats why i said Deon was a

thats why i said Deon was a great ambassador for Josey and Augusta. He has been a great pro. I think i already said all those things.

I was making the fact that he didnt SAVE the super bowl like was reported in this headline. Congrats Deon and TW Josey. Hopefully the students can see the impact he has made and follow in those footsteps

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