Franchise Tag Not Stopping Griffin this Offseason


NASHVILLE, Tenn. --Michael Griffin has yet to sign his tag as Tennessee's franchise player. The veteran safety also sees no reason why he should hold out now or miss the team's offseason program.

The five-year veteran has taken part in all of the Titans' offseason program, including Thursday's final organized team activity. He also will be here next week for the minicamp wrapping up the offseason.

Now the question is will he report for training camp in late July.

"My job is to play football," Griffin said. "My agent and the organization whatever they got going on, that's up to them. Right now I know I'll be here for the year playing football. That's all that matters."

A two-time Pro Bowl safety, Griffin is a key veteran on a youthful defense. The Titans brought back eight-year veteran Jordan Babineaux but let Chris Hope leave along with cornerback Cortland Finnegan. That leaves Griffin, a first-round pick out of Texas by the Titans in 2007, as the defensive back who has been with Tennessee the longest heading into his sixth season.

Mix that with defensive coordinator Jerry Gray finally having an offseason to expand his schemes, and being in Nashville was the only move Griffin felt he could make to make sure he was at each of the OTAs and workouts along with minicamp.

"I told my agent I want to be here for the offseason program, what not, so I get the same thing my teammates are getting," Griffin said. "Plus being one of the older guys here being here for the leadership and being with my teammates. Now I mean hold out? We don't have the first game till September. You held out right now, it's not really doing anything. It's not making a statement. Right now I'm just enjoying my time with my teammates."

That approach is exactly what Griffin told cornerback Jason McCourty to expect earlier this year.

"He's coming in and doing what he's accustomed to doing," McCourty said. "I think that's important for him personally is that he's used to being here, and he's used to working. He kind of didn't want to break that mold that's got him the success he has. I'm happy to see him here and definitely glad to have his leadership here."

Griffin has played in every game since being selected 19th overall in 2007, starting 73 of his 80 games. He has 17 interceptions in that stretch with seven of those coming in 2008 to earn his first Pro Bowl berth and four in 2010 for his second. He also has 487 tackles with seven forced fumbles and four recovered.

With 14 of Griffin's interceptions since 2008, only Ed Reed (23), Troy Polamalu (19) and Nick Collins (17) have had more picks at safety in the NFL.

He ranked third on the team with 96 tackles in 2011 with one sack and tied for the team lead with two interceptions.

Coach Mike Munchak said Griffin's attitude has been great from the beginning for a player who comes out to practices early and also helps coach. He sees the veteran developing into a nice leader.

"It's a win-win for all of us when a player comes in, and I think it makes the other players realize it's important for Griff to be here and it's just another form of leadership," Munchak said.

Babineaux said being here will only help Griffin as the defense hones technique and to become more comfortable with the players around him. With Finnegan gone, the Titans will have a new starter at cornerback. Babineaux said handling the franchise tag can be like a game of chess with players handling it in a variety of ways, though he's never gotten the chance.

"If I had an opportunity to be in that position, one I would take it as a compliment," Babineaux said. "Two, nothing is promised in this league so the fact you have a great opportunity to make some money, some guaranteed money within a year. I guess it depends on the circumstances and the player. I think it's a compliment."

NOTES: Rules of the CBA allow the teams to spend more time on the field during minicamp, but Munchak said the Titans have worked well enough he doesn't feel it's necessary to do that. He said he feels they've worked well enough it was an easy decision.

Related Content

Fan Zone

Titans + Nissan Stadium App

Titans + Nissan Stadium App

Stay up to date with team and stadium news, concert and event announcements, stream live Titans games and more!

Tennessee Titans Marketplace

Tennessee Titans Marketplace

A one-stop shop for Titans memorabilia, autographed items and more!

Tennessee Titans Email Newsletter

Tennessee Titans Email Newsletter

Get Titans news sent straight to your inbox.