Griffin makes it through wild rookie season

Griffin makes it through wild rookie season
January 1, 2014, 8:00 am
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(USA Today Images)

If Ryan Griffin could make it through 2013 as a rookie, the young tight end has to feel pretty confident he can make it through just about anything the NFL throws his way.

The Texans’ season was a complete and utter disaster, but while sifting through the rubble, you’ll find that Griffin was one of the few bright spots.

“I’ve seen a whole lot since the time I’ve been here,” the tight end from UConn said. “A lot of disappointment. And I’m ready to get that taste out of my mouth.”

But it’s not likely the Texans are disappointed they drafted Griffin in the sixth round. Not likely at all.

Griffin came into the season as the third-string tight end behind Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham. But after Daniels went out for the season, Griffin moved up to the two-slot and after Graham went down, he became the No. 1 option. He was the No. 1 tight end for the last three games of the season.

“It’s funny, on the flight back from the game in Nashville I was just thinking about everything that happened this year,” he said. “It’s been such a crazy year for me. I’m just happy the Texans took a chance on me and hopefully I can perform in the upcoming year.”

Yeah, a lot happened to the Texans in 2013. They lost their last 14 games of the season, lost several key members of the team to injury and got their head coach fired. The 2013 rookies had a much different experience than the rookies in 2012.

In 2012, the Texans won 12 games and a playoff game. They won the division for the second straight year and began the year 11-1. That made this year even harder for second-year players who had a high level of success in their rookie seasons.

“It was tough, especially coming off a year where we went (12-4) last year, you’re at the highest of highs and go down to the lowest of lows,” said defensive end Jared Crick, who just finished his second season. “It’s really tough. As a player, you learn the nature of this league and performance is everything. If you’re not making plays, you’re not winning games and we just have to correct it for next year.”

This offseason Graham is a free agent and Daniels might end up being a salary cap casualty. Griffin could see an increased role next season, when he hopes the team will be much better.

And even with the struggles of the team in his rookie year, it was quite an experience, one that has him ready for next season.  

“You know what, it’s been a difficult year, there’s no doubt about it,” Griffin said. “But I still love these guys in the locker room. They were my teammates whether we won 14 games or lost 14 games, still my brothers and I enjoyed playing with them.”