NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Michael Griffin says his 10-year NFL career was a blessing that lasted far longer than some of his former teammates at the University of Texas.
The two-time Pro Bowl safety officially ended that career Monday by signing a one-day contract with the Tennessee Titans and retiring with the franchise that drafted him with the 19th pick overall in 2007. Griffin, who wore No. 33 in his career, retired at the age of 33.
”I can’t say enough, thank y’all, just thank y’all,” Griffin said at a news conference inside the team’s indoor practice field. ”That’s probably all I can say is just thank y’all because it’s a blessing, and I’m so thankful to have that opportunity for the last nine years to play for this organization.”
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Griffin started 10 games as a rookie and played 141 games over nine seasons with Tennessee, including 103 straight between 2007 and 2013. He remains the franchise’s all-time leader in tackles by a safety with 912. Griffin also had 25 interceptions, seven sacks, 11 forced fumbles and six fumble recovers with his best season in 2008 with seven interceptions.
Controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk thanked Griffin for his nine seasons with the Titans and wished him the best in retirement.
”He was such a dependable player for us during his time here, missing only three games over nine seasons, and he was always among our leading tacklers,” Strunk said in a statement. ”His play earned him two Pro Bowl selections and the respect of his teammates. Michael also was invested in our community, finding ways to make a difference.”
The Titans released Griffin in February 2016 when he was tied with Corey Graham of Buffalo for the most games played by a safety in the NFL between 2007 and 2015. Griffin signed with Minnesota but didn’t play a game. He then signed with Carolina and started six of 13 games with the Panthers in 2016. He finished his career starting 134 of 154 games played in 10 seasons.
Griffin spent the 2017 season working out in case a team called and finished his degree at Texas. He said even when he was with the Vikings and Panthers he always felt he remained a Tennessee Titan.
”I was always cheering my guys on, always texting them if someone went down, ask how they were doing, keep their heads up, if someone was released whatever it may be,” Griffin said. ”I always stayed in contact with those guys.”