This afternoon at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Joseph Griffin of Londonderry faces the ultimate challenge.
The 2008 New England Patriots Fan of the Year from New Hampshire will be forced to root for the other team in Red, White and Blue today … the Houston Texans.
“Well, he’d better,” warned Joe’s son, Texans’ rookie tight end Ryan Griffin. “I know this one is going to be tough on him.”
Facing his hometown team is only the next challenge in what has been a year-long battle for Ryan, the UConn product and sixth round pick of the Texans in last spring’s draft.
Griffin’s battle to move from the University of Connecticut to the pros was certainly not easy. It began last winter with a first step that the Londonderry High product wasn’t allowed to make.
When the NFL sent out invitations to its draft combine, Griffin’s name wasn’t on a list that included 19 tight ends.
“I was focused at that point in time. A lot of people counted me out,” said Griffin. “When I didn’t get an invite, it was a pretty big turning point for me. I’m there at UConn training with guys going to the combine, and I got left home. I still think about every day and use it as motivation.
“It hurt me. This wasn’t not making an All-Big East team or something like that. You know the people who make those decisions as to who to invite are the GMs, They are the people who matter. I still don’t know what it was.”
Only 15 of them were drafted — all of them ahead of Griffin, whom Houston took at pick 201 in the sixth round.
He admits, he still tracks the successes and failures of all the guys who went ahead of him.