Griffin gives back

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 22, 2001

Features Editor

Murray Foster has known Cornelius Griffin since the day he was born.

He characterized the young man who grew up in small-town Brundidge and is now defensive end for the New York Giant as a gentle giant who was a good, sweet and obedient child.

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"When I see Cornelius on television knocking heads in a football game, I say, ‘Is that really him?’" Foster said.

"I don’t believe he’s got a mean bone in his body, but he sure can play football and we sure are proud of him."

After a stellar career at the University of Alabama, Griffin was drafted by the Giants and turned in an outstanding performace his rookie season, which ended with a trip to the Super Bowl against the Baltimore Ravens.

For all the success in his young professional football career, Griffin has not forgotten those who have supported, encouraged and loved him all his life. And, he has not forgotten his hometown.

On Wednesday, Griffin provided Thanksgiving dinner at Brundidge Station for the senior citizens, the sick, the shut-in and those in his home community who would not have had a traditional dinner otherwise.

More than 150 plates were delivered by volunteers to the sick and shut-ins. That many people and more passed along the tables that were heavily laden with turkey, dressing and all the trimmings.

"It’s so wonderful that Cornelius would think to do this," said Foster, who is the bishop in the Griffin family’s church, the Lily White Holiness Church of the Living God. "And, I’m not surprised that he would do this. He has always been a kind and caring young man.

He was that way when he was growing up and success has not spoiled him – and I’m sure it never will. He was a wonderful child and he’s a wonderful man."

Foster said credit for "this fine young man"

must go to his family. You won’t find any better people in the world," he said. "His mother has done a fine job raising her family and I know she’s proud of all her children. We all share in Cornelius’ success. Everybody is behind him all the way. We all want the best for him."

Foster expressed sadness that Griffin’s father, Willie Griffin, could not have seen his son realize his dream for him.

Willie Griffin was killed in an automobile accident prior to his son’s first season at Alabama.

"Willie had told me that he hoped one day Cornelius could play professional football," Foster said.

"I know he would be proud to see he has made it, but I know, too, that he would be even prouder to see what he has done today for all of the people in his community by giving them this wonderful Thanksgiving."

In speaking for all the guests at the dinner, Foster said, "We thank all of those who worked so hard to make this day possible – the cooks and volunteers.

And, we thank Cornelius for this gathering and we love him. May God continue to bless him."