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Garett Bolles: Nasty on the field, gentle away from it

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After rough childhood, Bolles has turned his life around

NFL: Combine
Garett Bolles
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Garett Bolles is an offensive tackle who carries an attitude to the field that is a throwback to a bygone NFL era. It’s one the New York Giants could use.

“When I’m on the field, I want to put people in the dirt,” Bolles said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “And that’s what I’m here for. As an offensive lineman, you want to be the nastiest prick that you can be. And whoever’s in front of me, I want to drive them and put them in the dirt. So I’m just going to try to be that every single day.”

The NFL.com scouting report on the 6-foot-5, 297-pound Bolles says he “mean on the field, which you love.”

That, though, does not square with what the 24-year-old has become off the field.

Bolles was a troubled youngster who was kicked out of several schools and, eventually, out of his own home.

Now, he has a wife and small child and has turned his life around.

“When I come off the field, I love my family. I just learned how to turn the switch to to go back to the new Garett,” Bolles said. “I don’t even know the old Garett, in case you guys were wondering. I don’t even know who that old Garett is. I know the new Garett. I know exactly what I want to do, and I’m just grateful to be here. It’s a great experience and I’m really looking forward to living my dreams someday and playing in the National Football League.”

Could that dream bring him to the Giants? It is certainly within the realm of possibility. Both Dane Brugler and Mike Mayock have recently said Bolles, 24, is one of the two best left tackle prospects in the draft and should be selected in Round 1.

Bolles understands he will continue to have to answer questions about his past.

“I had to learn. When you’re young and dumb and you’re trying to figure out your life, you go through things. ... Without those mistakes, I wouldn’t be standing here in front of you because sometimes you have to go through things to realize where you’re going to go,” Bolles said. “So I had to go through some of those low points in life, but I’m grateful that I went through those because it turned me into the man I have today.”