Sharrif Floyd doesn't know what his football future will hold and doesn't talk in-depth much about his courageous past, but the two are intersecting as he prepares to begin his latest chapter.
With a four-year contract that is likely to pay him more than $8 million, he is ready to give back to someone that helped him make it through the toughest of times.
Floyd said his grandmother, Lucille Ryan, the woman who helped through a painful childhood, has picked out her new house in Atlanta, Floyd's repayment for being the steadying influence on his formative years.
"She got brought up tough, too, so she had a tough childhood and at 78 she is still struggling," Floyd said for an in-depth article about his life in the latest issue of Viking Update Magazine. "Seeing my grandmother come from where she was and still close to that same position, it makes me push harder. If she didn't give up, I know I'm not going to give up."
Floyd called his grandmother the most influential person in his life after a father he doesn't remember was murdered when Floyd was too young to remember and his mother struggled with drug addiction. He also endured a tough rule from his step-father and bullying at school.
Sometime in the next month, Floyd is expected to sign a contract worth about $8.1 million with a signing bonus of about $4.2 million. Just as he approaches most matters on the business or football side, he seems unaffected that his contract isn't done yet, part of a logjam of rookies selected from No. 21 overall to No. 29 that hasn't been signed.
"I'm a rookie. I don't know how that thing's supposed to go, but when it comes time for that to get done, it will get done," Floyd said.
He takes the same approach still with where he was drafted. Expected to be a top-five talent, Floyd lasted until the 23rd pick, at which time the Vikings were ecstatic to select him.
Many players in the past have taken the approach of publicly trying to avenge a drop in the draft, holding grudges against teams that passed on them. Not Floyd.
"It doesn't matter. A lot of players came through this draft years before me and went in a position or (were) drafted where they shouldn't have and ended up being a great player. After you're drafted, it's out the window. Now it's what are you going to do now, so that's what I'm focusing on," he said.
"I was just calm, just waiting to see where I was going to end up. No emotions flared, nothing. Nothing really. As a player, as a competitor, there's always a chip on your shoulder and I'm just glad to be here. I wasn't expecting to go anywhere in the draft but where I was supposed to be at, and this is where I'm supposed to be at."
With the future as his focus, Floyd believes he needs to get better at everything.
"I can work on it all. Nothing in my repertoire can say it's perfect. I don't think a lot of people can say that. No one is perfect, so I'm working on everything," he said.
"… There's no room for error in this league and that's what I'm focused on – not making mistakes and playing hard."
He isn't worrying about how much he will play or where he will play – head coach Leslie Frazier said Floyd would rotate behind Kevin Williams at the three-technique – and said nothing has surprised him during the team's organized team activities or minicamp, Floyd's first NFL practices.
"It's all ball," he said. "Nothing changes. The only thing that picks up is the speed and you either adapt to it or you don't.
"It's only speed. It's OK. Just pick it up another notch and tell yourself to go."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Floyd looking forward while paying back
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