NASHVILLE, TN, Jan. 28, 2009 — Michael Griffin wasn't expecting to go to the Pro Bowl. With some of the NFL's best safeties aligned in the AFC, competition is always fierce, especially for a second-year player. But after finishing second in the NFL with seven interceptions and showing a penchant for making big plays, Griffin may need to realize that he is quickly closing the gap on some of the league's elite players at his position.
Griffin took time out of his schedule Wednesday to talk about being named to his first Pro Bowl, his development as a player in his first two NFL seasons and his expectations for the Titans in the immediate future.
Titans free safety Michael Griffin is going to the Pro Bowl after only his second NFL season.
TITANS ONLINE:When did you find out you were going to the Pro Bowl?
GRIFFIN: Yesterday at around 4:30 p.m.
TITANS ONLINE: Who called you?
GRIFFIN: Coach Fisher and Mrs. Tina Tuggle.
TITANS ONLINE: What was your reaction?
GRIFFIN: I was surprised. People kept saying there was a possibility that I may be going. They said Troy Polamalu has had some injuries, but it was a surprise hear that Ed Reed wasn't going because of injuries.
TITANS ONLINE: How excited are you to be going to the Pro Bowl in only your second season?
GRIFFIN: I am very excited. It's a dream come true. You know, making it to the NFL is one thing a lot of people dream about, so making the Pro Bowl is another dream.
TITANS ONLINE: What does it mean to be going with Chris Hope and Cortland Finnegan, two of your teammates in the Titans' secondary?
GRIFFIN: It feels good. To be out there with some of my teammates, friends and family will be fun and should make it a nice transition. It's going to be like a vacation just to get away, have fun and enjoy ourselves.
TITANS ONLINE: Do you take pride in the fact that so many members of the Titans secondary are going to Pro Bowl?
GRIFFIN: Oh yes, we definitely take pride in that because you want as many players going over there as you can. The positive thing is we have four defensive players, so that's a good thing. We may have four of the 11 defensive players out there on the field at one time. It's a sign that everyone is making strides and headed in the right direction.
TITANS ONLINE: What have veterans like Nick Harper taught you about playing in the secondary?
GRIFFIN: Nick Harper has definitely taught a lot of the younger guys a lot, especially myself and Cortland, and that has transitioned onto the field and allowed us to get to where we are today. He is really happy for all three of us making the Pro Bowl.
TITANS ONLINE: What do you think this says about the Titans' secondary?
GRIFFIN: It shows we made a positive transition from last year to this year. Last year we excelled very well in the run game, but we had some problems here and there in the passing game. To see three players in our secondary in the Pro Bowl this year says a lot about our group and how hard we worked in the off-season. We're making strides in the right direction, so hopefully this will transition into next season, we'll continue to work hard and hopefully we can get past that first playoff game next year.
TITANS ONLINE: Did you ever imagine you would make the Pro Bowl so early in your career?
GRIFFIN: No, not really. Every year you look at the AFC safeties and see Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu and Bob Sanders. When you look at names like that it, it seems impossible to get there until guys retire. It's a surprise to actually have this opportunity. Just to be named as an alternate was a surprise with all of the great safeties in our conference. It was a blessing to be an alternate, but to actually get the chance to go is a huge blessing and all I can do is thank God for this opportunity.
TITANS ONLINE: How have you seen your game develop over your first two NFL seasons?
TITANS ONLINE: Really, over this past year the game has slowed down a whole lot. Playing against some of the teams we played against last year, I saw some of the same tendencies the second time around. With Chris Hope getting me in the weight room and just being able to go out there and see the game from a different perspective in my second year gave me more confidence. I believed in myself. It makes it easy with the front-seven we have up there stopping the run. It allows us to just play the pass and be able to make plays on the ball.
TITANS ONLINE: How do you feel about your potential in future seasons?
GRIFFIN: Really, I just have to continue to work hard. I can't settle for what I've accomplished so far. I have to continue to work even harder. Every year the great players are moving up from high school into college, and from college into the NFL. You have to realize that one day someone might come in and try to take your position, so you have to continue to work hard and get better every day.
TITANS ONLINE: How do you feel about the team's potential for success going forward?
TITANS ONLINE: I think Mike Reinfeldt and Coach Fisher are doing a great job drafting players and bringing in free agents to put together a team that can develop team chemistry. We have hard-working players that are able to go out there and put on a great performance on the field on Sundays and win ballgames. You have to give Coach Fisher and Mike Reinfeldt credit for the job they are doing. Hopefully they'll continue to do what they're doing, and as players, we'll continue to work hard. I think we'll be able to do something spectacular in the future, like getting to the big game and bringing home a Super Bowl title. I think we're making strides in the right direction. We just have to continue to work hard.
TITANS ONLINE: Do you plan on bringing anyone to Hawaii?
GRIFFIN: So far my mom, dad and brother. They have been the main people in my life through all the ups and downs. I'm trying to see if I can get my eight-month old son to go, too.