Robert Griffith: 13 Years in the NFL
Retired NFL player Robert Griffith talks about his 13 years in the NFL as being part of a man's league ... "you hit guys where you could get 'em."
[Robert Griffith] 13 years, eight with the Vikings, then I went to the Browns for three, and then I went to Arizona for two. The NFL was very physical at the time. You know, a lot of rules now are mitigating the contact, but it was a man's league. You hit guys where you can get them. There was a lot of different— I won't say injuries but—a lot of guys going out of games for head injuries, concussions, and/or blackouts or whatever it might be. So that's just been part of the game since it's inception, so it's nothing new to us. It's just we never knew the effects that it was having on us. It's incessant, one of the things that—you work hard with your team, you practice hard, they have you in the game plan so you are part of that win. A lot of guys, including myself, we couldn't be missed. When you're a safety and you're making all the calls to get the defense lined up, and you're not in there and your backup's not doing— there's the pressure for you to be there, so it was a constant—in the back of guy's head— that we've got to be on the field at all cost. It's the same way now, I think now it's just a little different because there's the media on it, and there's the information and the analytics behind it now that says that when a guy gets a blackout or he gets his bell rung, you gotta come out the game. When I played, it wasn't that protocol. The pressures were—you know they come from within and they come from the team, and I think the last force is the coach. You really put it on yourself to be the player that's on the field, that's earning his money, and that's really going after the win with your players and your teammates and the camaraderie. More importantly, just going after it with the guys that you worked so hard with. It's the same thing in team sports, it's always gonna be there.
Posted on BrainLine September 4, 2013.
Robert Otis "Griff" Griffith is a former American football strong safety in the National Football League. He also served as an executive member of the National Football League Player's Association for six years.
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