Brundidge’s Griffin goes in

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 21, 2000

second round of NFL draft


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Dreams continue to come true for Cornelius Griffin.

Griffin left Tuscaloosa Wednesday morning for Newark, N.J. where he will participate in a mini-camp with the New York Giants of the National Football League.

Griffin, who has been a standout defensive tackle for the University of Alabama for the past two football seasons, was drafted by the Giants in the second round of the NFL draft Saturday.

Griffin waited at home in Brundidge with his mother Martha Griffin for the call to come.

He had been in New York last week for a visit with the Jets and had also visited pro teams in Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. But, he had not visited with the Giants.

"I didn’t have a clue who might take me," Griffin said. "You hear stuff but you don’t know. I had heard that I might go higher in the draft – even maybe in the first round. That didn’t happen but I wasn’t disappointed. I believe that the Giants are the best team for me to be with. I think ‘I’ll have the best opportunity to play with them."

Griffin said even if he had not been drafted, he would not have thought the opportunity to play professional football had passed him by.

"I would have signed on as a free agent," he said. "There are a lot of them that make it and there are a lot of top round drafts picks that don’t. I got drafted but it’s still going to be up to me to make it. I’m going to go up there and work as hard as anybody and I’m going to give it my best shot. Only 1 to 3 percent of college football players make it to the pros. I feel blessed that I have this opportunity."

Griffin was a standout athlete at Pike County High School and made it to big time college football via junior college in Mississippi,

"I know Mississippi’s not New York but I went out there by myself and kept my head on straight, worked hard and made it possible for me to play at Alabama," he said. "I’m a small town guy going to the big city but I’m older now and more mature. I think I’ll be able to keep everything in perspective. If I work hard and believe in myself, I think I can make it. I know I’m going to try. This is the chance that I’ve worked for."

Griffin is about 20 hours short of graduation but he said getting a college diploma is still a top priority for him.

"Right now, I’ve got this mini-camp where we’ll meet the coaches, get physicals and get in some practice so they can get a look at us," he said. "I don’t know what’s going to happen between the mini-camp and July when training camp opens. I know staying is shape will be a big part of what is expected of me."

Griffin said the experience of playing college football was the thrill of a lifetime. Even the disappointment of Alabama’s one point loss to Michigan State in overtime at the Orange Bowl didn’t blemish those memories.

"Some people wanted to put the blame on our kicker but, if the blame had to be singled out, it was on the defense," he said. "We let them come back and get in the game. It was a team loss. We just let it get away."

Griffin knows the deep disappointment of lost opportunities and things that "get away." He doesn’t plan on letting the opportunity to play professional football get away.

"The way that I look at it is that I’m going where the Lord has made a way for me," he said. "I think there is a place for me with the New York Giants. It’s a chance a lot of people would give anything to have. I know that I am really blessed."