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Paso Robles football enters new era with former NFL linebacker s - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Paso Robles football enters new era with former NFL linebacker serving as head coach

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Paso Robles High School has recruited some top talent to lead its football program. This week, the Bearcats hired former NFL linebacker Larry Grant, 31, as the team's new head coach.

Grant has an impressive background. He was the 2005 National Junior College Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

"From there, I took my career to play at the Ohio State University of Jim Tressel," Grant said. While at Ohio, Grant was named to the All-Academic Big Ten team and helped win two national championship games for the Buckeyes. 

In 2008, Grant was drafted by the NFL. He is known for his time with the San Francisco 49ers where he played in two NFC Championship games and the Super Bowl in 2013.

The excitement over his hire this week gave way to concerns from a few parents. Grant has limited coaching experience. He was an assistant coach at Foothill High School in Sacramento for one season. Afterward, he served as a defensive assistant coach, but was let go four months later because "it wasn't the right fit," Grant said. 

Grant also served a four-game suspension in 2013 for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. At the time, he wrote a statement saying, "I never knowingly took a performance-enhancing drug. I take full responsibility for what goes in my body and, more importantly, for the embarrassment of a failed drug test."

"Everybody obviously read about me being suspended, of course. What I tell the kids or anybody who I've been across that's going to play at a certain level is always watch everything that you're taking and putting into your body. Do as much research as you can," Grant said. 

Grant's entrance marks a new era in Bearcat football. He replaces 17-year head coach Rich Schimke, who was dismissed from the football program after a video emerged appearing to show him licking syrup from a player's stomach.

"The good thing about me is that I'm looking ahead. I understand things happened before I got here with certain people, but in order for these kids to succeed, we have to move forward," Grant said.

Despite that, Grant has received a lot of praise and the unanimous approval of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District. 

"You see a guy who has played in the NFL, Super Bowl, four national championship games, but those weren't important. They're valuable, but not important. What's important is the belief and passion he has for every kid," said Chris Williams, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Superintendent. 

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