Browns linebacker Quentin Groves
Pull up Quentin Groves' Twitter page, and you'll learn something about him just by looking at his location. Somewhere with no signal, it reads.
That place happens to be the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago, where Groves calls home during the offseason.
"I love it here," Groves said by phone. "For one, the culture is great. The food is even better. The people are even better than that. And the weather, man, you can't beat it – 86 degrees year-round. So my wife and I decided to make this our home."
The allure of island life hasn't put Groves in relaxation mode, though. With the guidance of his trainer, Zephernius Nicholas, the 29-year-old Groves overhauled the way he approaches the offseason.
For the first three months of 2014, Groves never lifted more than 50 pounds of weight. He woke up each morning not knowing what would be thrown at him from Nicholas. One day it was intense aquatic work in the pool, the next they were rock climbing. Often, the pair could be found on the beach doing agility and quick-movement drills on the heavy sand. The refreshing change has reinvigorated Groves, who now is 10 pounds lighter, at 252.
"The results I've gotten have been amazing," the linebacker said. "I'm feeling lighter. I'm more tone. And now, it honestly feels like my rookie year again."
The 2014 season will be Groves' second with the Browns, and he'll have some familiar faces around the locker room. Fellow Auburn alumni Karlos Dansby and Ben Tate have joined the fold. While he wasn't a part of the decision-making process, Groves sent text messages to both players in hopes of persuading them that Cleveland was the right place to be.
"The day before Ben signed, I told him, 'Let's make this thing happen, let's win a Super Bowl,'" said Groves. "It's exciting to play with guys I played with in college. War Eagle!"
Entering his seventh NFL season, Groves says this year is probably the most important of his career. A nagging ankle injury and the season-ending surgery that followed limited Groves to playing only five games in 2013. Coach Mike Pettine has historically used a surplus of interchangeable linebackers in his scheme, which means Groves will likely be a big part of the rotation.
"Coach Pettine is more of a strictly, let's get down to the X's and O's," Groves said. "And in this business, that's what it has to be."
As the Browns' players begin to arrive in Cleveland for voluntary workouts, the Trinidad and Tobago lifestyle of somewhere with no signal will be put on hold for Groves. And he's fine with that. "We get to lace up those cleats, smell that grass, put on that helmet and buckle that chinstrap," Groves said. "It's a blessing to see your name above the locker every day."