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Londonderry’s Griffin deserves better than Jets

By Hector Longo | Sep 24, 2019

The axiom that “good things happen to good people” got severely tested in the spring of 2019.

To his credit, the good person involved, as he has done for so long in his athletic career, simply perseveres.

Londonderry High product Ryan Griffin was in town, starting at tight end Sunday at Gillette Stadium for his second NFL team, the New York Football Jets.

In a visiting locker-room that felt like the Nixon White House, say in the spring of 1974, Griffin remains a beacon of positive vibes, a true professional in his seventh year.

He won’t speak of what was foisted on him this offseason negatively, and how he went from a franchise that made the playoffs three of the last four yearsto an uncompetitive, lifeless organization that hasn’t seen the postseason in a decade.

So I will.

Let’s get the house work out of the way. Nobody should feel sorry for Griffin, who has earned over $9 million in his six-plus pro seasons. You should feel good that he earned each and every penny, a sixth-round long shot made good.

He’s vested in the league’s retirement plan, has a brain in his head so he and the family will be financially set for life and has just always seemed like a super guy.

He just deserves better than Adam Gase and the Jets.

Griffin’s off-field spin began in Nashville, during the NFL Draft, when as reports have it, he took it a little too far and punched out a hotel window. The arrest allowed Texans coach Bill O’Brien to drop the hammer and cut the UConn product, despite six loyal years.

Maybe, it was the $3 million on the salary cap. Maybe, O’Brien felt he could do better than the ex-Lancer.

You wonder if the coach’s judgment can be trusted. Since drafting Griffin in the sixth, he’s selected three other tight ends, using two thirds and a fourth, and they have combined for 112 catches, compared to his 137 Houston grabs. But, I digress.

Free agency felt like a dream to Griffin.

Talk about timing. Rob Gronkowski had retired. The New England cupboard was/is bare at the position, and Griffin’s first visit was home in Foxborough with the Patriots.

“I thought it went great. I mean, It’s basically the same offense (as Houston’s), I thought I was coming here,” he said on Sunday.

The call back just never came. The Patriots went coaxed Ben Watson out of retirement instead, and Griffin settled for zero guarantees and just over a million bucks for a year in the swamps of Jersey.

Sunday’s loss was a milestone for the only NHIAA product to be playing in the NFL right now.

You see Gase, who is 41, has shown infinite wisdom, making the veteran Griffin log extra time on special teams, covering kicks and punts, usually a job for unproven rookies or specialists, not your starting tight end.

But hey, Gase has won 45 percent of his games as a head coach, he knows better, right?

“I got my first career tackle,” Griffin beamed proudly.

I know. So many guys would kill to be in Griffin’s position, stop complaining Longo.

I hear you.

Griffin just deserved a break. Think about it. He could have been on this Patriots’ express to Miami.

Instead, it’s the 9:20 on the NJ Transit light rail to Newark.

Griffin will be fine, even covering kicks. He’s a pro’s pro, and as I said, as nice a guy as you’ll find.

Just keep your head on a swivel, Ryan. On the field and off it.


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