Michael Griffin will appeal 1-game suspension for Rivera hit
Griffin was suspended for repeated high hits- to the head and neck area of defenseless players –with the latest incident stemming from a hit on tight end Mychal Rivera during Sunday’s 23-19 win against the Oakland Raiders. It is Griffins second such violation this season and fourth since 2011. Griffin was fined $21,000 earlier this season for delivered a blow to Stephen Hill's upper body that knocked the Jets wide receiver from the Sep. 29 game.
"All I can say is I apologize to the Titans fans, my teammates and the organization," Griffin said in a text message to the (Nashville) Tennessean. "I also hope Rivera is doing well and I apologize to [Rivera] and his family. I was trying to do my job but in the end I hurt the team."
The seventh-year pro Griffin was flagged for unnecessary roughness in the second quarter after he went in low on a play and ended up hitting Rivera in the head as the rookie tight end was trying to catch a deep pass from quarterback Matt McGloin. Rivera had his helmet knocked off during the collision and stayed down for a few minutes before walking off the field on his own power. He was evaluated for a concussion and did not return to complete the game.
The 28-year-old Griffin said after the game that he apologized for the hit and even asked an official what more he could do on the play to make it safer, only to be told to aim low.
"I'm asking where do you aim low when somebody's going over the middle and he's catching the ball and he's falling at the same time? What do you do?” Griffin said. “My position and my job as a defensive player is to keep him from catching the ball and I don't know what you're supposed to do.”
Titans coach Mike Munchak said that the hit appeared worse because Rivera was also going low and his helmet came off. Munchak indicated that Griffin did not deliver the hit with the intent to harm Rivera as the Griffin clearly led his shoulder.
"I think the helmet came off from him actually hitting the ground of his own doing," Munchak noted. "I think (Griffin) hit him with his shoulder, for sure."
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said after the game that Rivera was feeling pretty good. Talking to reporters on Monday, he also confirmed that Rivera has started the league mandated concussion protocol.
If the suspension is not over turned, Griffin will be unable to practice with the team all week and will even miss the Titans’ Week 13 game against the Indianapolis Colts, which will cost him $205,882.35 out of his $3.5 million base pay this season. But more importantly, with the 5-6 Titans tied for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC, Griffin is expected to have additional motivation to appealing his suspension so as to play Sunday against AFC South-leading Colts in a game that will have considerable playoff implications.