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|Michael Griffin says his 10-year NFL career was a blessing that lasted far longer than some of his former teammates at the University of Texas.The two-time Pro Bowl safety officially ended that career Monday by signing a one-day contract with the Tennessee Titans and retiring with the franchise that drafted him with the 19th pick overall in 2007. Griffin Logan Woodside Jersey , who wore No. 33 in his career, retired at the age of 33.
”I can’t say enough, thank y’all, just thank y’all,” Griffin said at a news conference inside the team’s indoor practice field. ”That’s probably all I can say is just thank y’all because it’s a blessing, and I’m so thankful to have that opportunity for the last nine years to play for this organization.”
Griffin started 10 games as a rookie and played 141 games over nine seasons with Tennessee, including 103 straight between 2007 and 2013. He remains the franchise’s all-time leader in tackles by a safety with 912. Griffin also had 25 interceptions, seven sacks, 11 forced fumbles and six fumble recovers with his best season in 2008 with seven interceptions.
Controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk thanked Griffin for his nine seasons with the Titans and wished him the best in retirement.
”He was such a dependable player for us during his time here, missing only three games over nine seasons John Ross Jersey , and he was always among our leading tacklers,” Strunk said in a statement. ”His play earned him two Pro Bowl selections and the respect of his teammates. Michael also was invested in our community, finding ways to make a difference.”
The Titans released Griffin in February 2016 when he was tied with Corey Graham of Buffalo for the most games played by a safety in the NFL between 2007 and 2015. Griffin signed with Minnesota but didn’t play a game. He then signed with Carolina and started six of 13 games with the Panthers in 2016. He finished his career starting 134 of 154 games played in 10 seasons.
Griffin spent the 2017 season working out in case a team called and finished his degree at Texas. He said even when he was with the Vikings and Panthers he always felt he remained a Tennessee Titan.
”I was always cheering my guys on, always texting them if someone went down, ask how they were doing, keep their heads up, if someone was released whatever it may be,” Griffin said. ”I always stayed in contact with those guys.”
Titans linebackers Brian Orakpo and Wesley Woodyard and defensive linemen Jurrell Casey and DaQuan Jones were on hand for Griffin’s announcement.
The last-place Cincinnati Reds slammed the Chicago Cubs – again.
Anthony DeSclafani hit the first grand slam by a Cincinnati pitcher in 59 years, helping the Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 11-2 on Saturday for their sixth consecutive victory.
It was Cincinnati’s third slam in five days and major league-leading seventh of the season, two short of the record set in 2002. Jesse Winker hit one in the series opener against Chicago on Thursday night.
The last Reds pitcher to hit a grand slam was Bob Purkey against the Cubs on Aug. 1 D.J. Reader Jersey , 1959.
Tucker Barnhart and Joey Votto also went deep in front of a crowd of 36,818, Cincinnati’s largest since opening day. Votto hit a three-run shot off backup catcher Chris Gimenez in the eighth.
”We’re playing clean baseball,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. ”We’ve strung some good ballgames together.”
The Reds matched their longest win streak of the season and won a third straight game against the Cubs for the first time since winning five in a row in 2014.
”They definitely have played much better,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ”They deserved all three. Our pitching was in disarray, and they took advantage of it.”
Willson Contreras and Ben Zobrist homered for Chicago, which has lost three straight games for the first time since a five-game slide from May 1 through May 6. Zobrist and Ian Happ each had two of the Cubs’ six hits.
Contreras’ fifth homer trimmed Cincinnati’s lead to 2-1 in the second, but the Reds responded with six in the third.
Votto sparked the rally with a two-out walk against Luke Farrell (2-3). Brian Duensing then came in and yielded run-scoring hits to Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez with his first two pitches.
A walk to Winker and Adam Duvall’s infield single loaded the bases for DeSclafani, who drove a 3-2 pitch from Duensing into the seats in left for his first career homer.
”I got to a full count there,” DeSclafani said. ”I knew a fastball was coming Andy Janovich Jersey , so I just tried to square it up and it happened to go out. At first, I didn’t think it was a home run. but I saw the left fielder kind of give up on it. Then I saw the ball get into the stands. It was awesome. Everything in that at-bat happened so quick, from when I swung and hit the ball until I started shaking hands in the dugout.”
DeSclafani (3-1) also pitched a season-high 6 1/3 innings in his fourth start after beginning the year on the disabled list with a left oblique strain. He allowed three hits, struck out three and walked four.
Farrell, a former Red and the son of ex-Red Sox manager and current Reds scout John Farrell, yielded Barnhart’s two-run homer in the first. He was charged with three runs and two hits in his second career start.
”I made one big mistake to Barnhart,” Farrell said. ”They’re an aggressive team. I got too aggressive with a fastball.”
Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber, who grew up in nearby Middletown, took an autographed bat to a fan who was injured by one of his foul balls. The fan walked out with help wearing a white bandage around his head.
Cincinnati third baseman Eugenio Suarez had three hits, extending his career-high hitting streak to 13 games. It’s the longest streak by a Red this season.
FOUR FOR FOUR
DeSclafani is the fourth Reds pitcher to hit a grand slam Eric Ebron Jersey , joining Purkey, Al Hollingsworth in 1936, also against the Cubs, and Icebox Chamberlain with an inside-the-park homer in 1892.
Cubs third baseman Tommy La Stella crashed into the first row of seats down the left-field line while catching Votto’s first-inning popup.
Contreras’s homer survived a crew-chief replay review after video showed a fan wearing a Cubs jersey trapped it with his glove against the top of the fence before hauling it in.
Chicago bench coach Brandon Hyde was ejected by plate umpire Greg Gibson in the top of the fourth inning for complaining about ball-strike calls.
Gimenez made his 10th career pitching appearance and first for the Cubs.
Cubs: LHP Rob Zastryzny left in the sixth with what Maddon called left side tightness.
Reds: INF Nick Senzel, Cincinnati’s top pick and the second overall selection in the 2016 draft, is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right index finger. He suffered the injury on Friday with Triple-A Louisville.
Cubs: If Tyler Chatwood’s wife doesn’t go into labor, the right-hander will start Sunday’s series finale.
Reds: RHP Sal Romano (4-7) gave up six hits and seven runs in a 10-0 loss to Chicago on May 19.
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