Michael Griffin was born on January 4, 1985, in Austin, Texas, and became one of the best safeties to play in the National Football League (NFL). The Tennessee Titans’ drafted him in 2007, which marked the start of his remarkable career, spanning for 10 seasons. Boasting incredible playmaking ability, speed, agility, range, and ball-hawking skills, he made a name for himself and became part of the franchise and league’s best players. In this article, let’s know more about Michael Griffin and his journey in American football.
High School Journey
Starting at Bowie High School, Griffin already showed his outstanding prowess in football, playing as a starter in both running and defensive back positions. He earned different recognitions such as All-Central Texas and Academic All-District honors and District 25-5A Offensive MVP. Highly versatile and athletic, Griffin also received letters in athletics and basketball. With that, he was deemed to be a four-star recruit coming off from high school and became the 9th best cornerback recruit during that year. In December 2002, he committed to play for the University of Texas in Austin, turning down scholarship offers from Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Baylor.
In 2003, Griffin attended UT and joined the Texas Longhorns footballs. He had 50 career games as a Texas Longhorn, serving as a starter for over half of the matches. In his freshman season, Griffin was fielded in 12 games, playing at safety. The following year, Michael Huff took most of the starting time, making Griffin start only once in a game against Michigan. In his junior year, Huff cemented his hold at the strong safety. With that, the Longhorn coaches moved Griffin to free safety, allowing him to start in 12 out of 13 games. Griffin led the Longhorns in 2006 from his position as a free safety, registering a career-high 126 tackles in his senior year.
Griffin in the NFL
In 2007, the Tennessee Titans’ picked Griffin in the first round of the NFL Draft. While he played safety in his collegiate career, Titans coach Jeff Fisher was forced to move Griffin to cornerback because of a one-year suspension imposed on Adam Pacman Jones. Luckily, the cornerback position was filled in shortly with more players. Plus, Calvin Lowry’s inability to stop big plays at free safety, also allowed Griffin to revert to his original position.
In his second season with the Titans, Griffin proved to be more valuable to the team, registering 75 tackles, 11 deflections, and 1 force fumble. He was also named for his first Pro Bowl after tying for second place with a team-high 7 interceptions. For this third season, Griffin started in all 16 games like in his sophomore season, finishing with 77 tackles, 7 deflections, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 interception. The team lost its first six matches, but Griffin led the team to an 8-2 win-loss record in their last ten games.
Massive improvements were seen in Griffin’s performance in his fourth season as a Titan where he also earned his 2nd Pro Bowl. He registered 108 tackles, 12 deflections, 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries. For his fifth year, Griffin again played in all 16 games. His first contract finished and signed for another five years for $35 million.
In his sixth season, Griffin continued to shine and finished with 79 tackles, 4 deflections, 4 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 sack. In this year, he got his career-high in the number of tackles in a single game after getting 18 tackles against the New England Patriots. In 2013, he played only for 14 games, the first time in years that Griffin missed being a starter. Nevertheless, he went on to get 82 tackles, 4 deflections, 3 force fumbles, and 1 interception.
In the 2014 season, Griffin played again in all 16 games, and made his career-high 122 tackles and 3 sacks, alongside 5 deflections, and 2 interceptions. The following year, he finished with 101 tackles, 3 deflections, 1 interception, and 1 sack. Griffin ended his 9-year stint with the Tennessee Titans on February 9, 2016, after he was released.
More than a month later, the Minnesota Vikings signed Griffin. However, he was placed on injury reserve on September 3, 2016, and was released by the team shortly on September 8. Griffin then signed with the Carolina Panthers on September 27 where he played his last season in the NFL. In 2018, Griffin signed a one-day contract with the Tennessee Titans for his retirement.