December 4, 2021

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Jets’ Denzel Mims’ grandmother is his biggest,…

5 min read
Jets’ Denzel Mims’ grandmother is his biggest,...

One voice rose above the rest whenever and wherever Denzel Mims was playing.

In small-town Daingerfield, Texas, whether it was on the gridiron, track, diamond or hardwood, she was there. At Baylor’s McLane Stadium, she made her voice heard, too, even as the crowds grew bigger.

It was the same one that followed Mims through the Daingerfield school system, working in the cafeteria and keeping an eye on the quiet, skinny kid who was on his way to becoming a star.

Glinda Mims has yet to be in the stands to see her grandson, Denzel, play in the NFL, but the Jets rookie wide receiver can still hear her in the back of his head until that day she can attend a game finally comes.

“All the time,” Denzel Mims told The Post.

“My grandmother’s like my best friend. My grandmother’s someone I can go and talk to about anything. It doesn’t matter what it is, I talk to my granny about everything. She never judges me, she always just tells me the truth. She raised me. She taught me to be the person I am now. She taught me how to work hard, because obviously she’s a hard worker.”

Mims had to put that into action early on in his Jets career, with his debut delayed by a pair of hamstring injuries. But the second-round pick entered this week’s bye with three games under his belt, accounting for 10 catches for 146 yards and showing signs in each game that he can be a key part of the Jets’ future.

Denzel and Glinda Mims
Denzel and Glinda MimsGetty Images; Photo courtesy of Mims Family

Glinda may not be at his games this year — she doesn’t like to fly, and even if she did drive the 20-plus hours from Texas, MetLife Stadium has been closed to fans this season because of the pandemic — but Mims knows she is watching on television at home. She calls him after games, too, for their daily talk that often lasts at least an hour, in addition to two or three FaceTimes a week.

“We talk about everything,” he said. “She’s more worried sometimes, she doesn’t like when I get hit that way or if I throw my body around trying to block, she don’t like that. She wants to make sure her baby is all right.”

Glinda has long been making sure of that.

Before Mims was catching passes from Sam Darnold, the self-described “granny’s boy” was growing up in Daingerfield, a tiny town tucked into East Texas where his graduating class had 97 students. Glinda was never far away, working in the cafeteria at each school he went to and always making sure he got second helpings — “thirds if I needed it,” he said. But that wasn’t all.

“She made sure I was in line, made sure I was doing the right thing, made sure I had my grades up and made sure I was being very respectful,” Mims said.

If Mims ever needed something, his high school coach, Aric Sardinea, said, Glinda was there to help. And Sardinea always knew, just by listening, that she was there on Friday nights, too.

“When I first got there, I would hear his grandmother in the bleachers [cheering for] his brothers,” Sardinea said. “But when Denzel came up, it was different. I could always hear her saying his name, and I was on the sidelines. … It really just gives me chills when I think about how important she was [to him].”

It was no different when Mims was playing in the Big 12, whether it was every home game at Baylor or the ones within driving distance that Glinda could get to.

“We had a lot of sold-out stadiums, and I always heard her voice because I’m used to it,” Mims said. “I know I’m going to hear her out of everybody.”

It was only fitting, then, that Glinda was sitting right next to Mims as he waited to hear his name called in April’s NFL draft. It took longer than he was hoping — the Jets drafted him on the second night, with the 59th-overall pick — but it only added to the growing chip on his shoulder.

Mims was a late bloomer in high school who caught college recruiters’ attention with his speedy track times. Then, even after a productive career at Baylor, the 6-foot-3 playmaker watched 12 wide receivers get drafted ahead of him while getting passed over by his former college coach, Matt Rhule and the Panthers.

“I keep the names of the teams that skipped on me, but I don’t worry about that anymore,” Mims said. “I don’t worry about me going where I went because I’m thankful for where I went. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m going to keep tabs on who went before me, and I’m just going to put my head down and keep grinding.”

Just like his grandmother taught him.

Mims is still learning on the fly, with seven games left in the season, but it’s only a glimpse of what the Jets hope he can become. And they can be sure he’ll have his grandmother in his ear along the way, even if it has to be from afar for now.

“Even if I’m tired, I’m going to call my grandmother because just hearing her voice, I just love hearing her voice every day,” Mims said. “I know if she could be here, she would.”

The Jets placed TE Ross Travis on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday. The list is for players who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or came into close contact with someone who did. Ross had been elevated from the practice squad for Monday’s loss to the Patriots.

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