View Full Version : Merrill: Griffin wants to make his mark

09-07-2005, 01:16 AM

Dude made the roster
Next, Division III player Griffin wants to make his mark

The Kansas City Star

With his body stretched out on the couch in the coaches’ office, Kris Griffin was about to make a very bad first impression. Division III football transfers aren’t supposed to act this way, calling their coaches “Dude” and looking as casual as the dinner crowd at Burger King.

When the folks at Indiana University in Pennsylvania first saw Griffin, he rubbed them the wrong way.

“I thought, ‘Who is this guy?’ ” said Jim Smith, the linebackers coach.

Everybody seems to say that about Griffin. He’s the secret that nobody talks about, an undrafted rookie linebacker who slipped onto the Chiefs’ 53-man roster, ahead of two veterans who are no longer in Kansas City. Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt mentioned Griffin at Tuesday’s kickoff luncheon, but only because he didn’t know where the heck Indiana University in Pennsylvania was.

With “What a Wonderful World” playing in the background late Tuesday afternoon and the busboys clearing away plates, Griffin wanted to explain everything: how he didn’t start playing football until his senior year of high school, how he came from a college that drew 10,000 on a very, very good day but usually had closer to 3,000, which is about 1/25th of what he’ll encounter on Sunday.

It was too late. The buses were filling up, and Griffin was in danger of getting left at Crown Center. So Smith, his old coach, filled in the details. They had talked a lot this summer, about football, the NFL and underdogs. And every time Griffin got off the phone, Smith turned to his wife and said, “I think he’s gonna make it.”

His wife would usually say something like, “Oh, that’s good, honey.”

“She doesn’t understand a whole lot about football,” Smith said. “I’d tell her that’s huge. An undrafted free agent. … I don’t know what the odds are on that.”

At least one NFL evaluator put the odds even higher. When teams came to evaluate Griffin, at least one person told Smith, “No way.” Smith declined to say which team had slammed the door. But Griffin propped it open in week two of the preseason, when he started against Arizona.

In Friday night’s preseason finale at St. Louis, Griffin intercepted a late Ryan Fitzpatrick pass and returned it 29 yards. With his size and his movement, he has drawn comparisons to Derrick Johnson, the Chiefs’ first-round draft pick.

“He doesn’t have the top-end speed that maybe Derrick Johnson has,” coach Dick Vermeil said, “but he has some other things that are maybe close.”

Griffin, who’s 6 feet 3 and 233 pounds, played basketball throughout high school in Rochester, Pa. He tried football as a senior so he could play with his brother. It took him to Division III Geneva College, then to Indiana, a Division II power nestled in western Pennsylvania. Griffin started as a safety, then kept growing. They moved him to linebacker, and he also dabbled at defensive end.

If it hadn’t worked out in the NFL, Griffin said he’d probably be back in Pennsylvania, finishing up his degree in sports administration. He needed two classes to graduate. He wants to be an athletic director someday.

The first week in Kansas City, Griffin admits he was a little awestruck by the scene. That quickly went away, he made it out of the rookie cuts, and stuck around for training camp. The coaches back at Indiana thought he’d be on the practice squad. Then Saturday’s news came.

When Smith called him, he sounded more excited than Griffin. Truth is, Griffin knew he belonged.

“It doesn’t really matter what school you go to,” Griffin said. “It’s just how well you play. That’s how I looked at it. Even though these guys went to bigger schools than me, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better than me.”

Griffin said his family prayed a lot during his summer in Kansas City. And back in Pennsylvania, he had another rooting section. But Griffin, for the most part, took things in stride. To Smith, he’s still that laid-back linebacker who slumped on his couch before they were introduced.

Now he’s the NFL player who says: Everything is OK, dude.

“A lot of guys, I’m not saying on this team, just talk about getting paid and being on a roster,” Griffin said. “I want to play, I want to win, and I want to be successful in the NFL.”

Bob Dole
09-07-2005, 02:40 AM
Keep ****ing doubting Kris Griffin!

09-07-2005, 04:50 AM
I think he's going to be pretty good myself.

the Talking Can
09-07-2005, 05:35 AM
Kris Griffin lives in LIARSVILLE1!!!!!!11

09-07-2005, 05:56 AM

Mr. Kotter
09-07-2005, 07:02 AM
This has all the makings of a Scanlon-type-LoveFest... :spock:

09-07-2005, 07:35 AM
This has all the makings of a Scanlon-type-LoveFest... :spock:

No way, there can only be one Scanlon,the rest are copy cats.:D

Chief Henry
09-07-2005, 07:58 AM
(in my best CARL from Caddy shack voice)

"Its a Cinderalla Story"

09-07-2005, 08:22 AM
(in my best CARL from Caddy shack voice)

"Its a Cinderalla Story"

Man, no dude wants to be Cinderalla, it's David and Goliath, OK.

09-07-2005, 08:22 AM
I like this kid...in the games he reminds me of a young Charles Haley. I think we all would love that :drool:

09-07-2005, 08:28 AM
Dude, where's my car?

Dude, you're gettin' a Dell.

09-07-2005, 10:11 AM

Chest Rockwell
09-07-2005, 10:12 AM


09-07-2005, 10:15 AM
"Merrill: Griffin wants to make his mark"

Hopefully he'll make several marks:

Pennington's rib cage.
Pennington's breadbasket.
Martin's head.

09-07-2005, 10:49 AM