Suspended Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin is clearly frustrated with the one-game ban issued by the NFL, and expressed those frustrations Wednesday morning on 102.5 The Game in Nashville.
Griffin’s appeal to the NFL fell on deaf ears, regarding his hit on Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera in Sunday’s game that knocked the rookie out with a concussion.
Griffin said he is confused as to why the NFL considers him a repeat offender.
“I’ve been playing for seven years. I started 120-something games straight and you mean to tell me that four times, four times out of a 120-something times, that I’m a repeat offender. Four times. I’m a dirty player? I’m a cheap shot player?” Griffin told Jeremy Bennefield and Joe Dubin during the station’s First Quarter morning show. “Four times in seven seasons and I all of a sudden go from a soft player who can’t tackle to a dirty player, a cheap shot player.
“I’m totally confused at how the tables can be turned from one direction to the next. That’s 2011. This is 2013, and you’re still penalizing me for something from 2011. So now my question is if it happens again in 2014, if God grants me to play another year, what happens in 2014? What happens there? Three games, four games, a year? What happens then? That’s still answers that I’ve not gotten. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now.”
Griffin said he did not mean to injure Rivera, and tried to go low on the hit in order to avoid helmet to helmet contact. The tight end’s helmet came off on the play, and Griffin said he immediately took a knee and began to pray that Rivera was OK, as Raiders trainers treated him. He later said he got Rivera’s cellphone number from Justin Hunter, who was Rivera’s teammate at the University of Tennessee, and texted an apology to him.
“People are trying to say it was a vicious hit. I pulled off I didn’t launch. It wasn’t like I left my feet to go attack him. You watch the play over again. I ran straight down the 15-yard line, and he’s running toward the goal line. At the last minute, I noticed he’s tripping,” Griffin said, “I go low, I even turn my back and my shoulder toward him, but at the end of the day, it’s gonna be a vicious hit with two guys going at the speed they’re going. At the end of the day, you’re still penalizing me for as many tackles as I’ve had in the last seven years, saying I’ve had four incidents that have happened.”
Griffin said in all four of his incidents involving fines, the passes have been thrown by rookie quarterbacks, who are putting receivers in a bad position. The Raiders started rookie Matt McGloin on Sunday.
“I go back and look at it, and it’s been four rookie quarterbacks throwing to receivers and putting them in harm’s way. You’re just putting us safeties in a bad position because quarterbacks aren’t afraid to throw down the middle on a post defense, and it’s gonna be a 15-yard penalty regardless of if it’s a catch or not,” Griffin said. “…It goes back to the quarterback. Every fine I’ve ever had has come from a rookie quarterback throwing into a post defense. That’s rule No. 1. You don’t throw into a post or seam route in to a post defense. You’re putting your teammate in harm’s way.”
Griffin said he has other questions about how things work as well.
“It seems like this is way out of whack. They suspended me. They tell me I’m a repeat offender. What am I supposed to do? Even the first fine I had this season against the Jets, how long after Alterraun Verner makes the interception is the defenseless receiver still considered defenseless. He said, ‘I don’t know. That’s a good question,’” Griffin said.
Griffin won’t be allowed to practice or even be in the Titans facility this week while he serves the suspension that will cost him around $205,000 in salary.
“I cannot talk to the coaching staff or the front office. If I wanted to drive to Indianapolis and actually go to the game and watch it, I can’t even do that,” he said.