Griffin honored by SEC

Published 8:55 pm Friday, December 10, 2010

This past Saturday many from Pike County traveled to Atlanta to watch Auburn play South Carolina in the SEC Championship game.

But one Pike County native had a front row seat, as he was honored by the conference he once played for.

For two seasons, Cornelius Griffin terrorized opposing quarterbacks and running backs during his days as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide defensive unit.

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Just before the championship showdown, Griffin was recognized for his accomplishments, along with 11 others from around the conference, as an SEC Legend.

“It was a tremendous honor,” Griffin said. “It was something I will never forget.

“To be a part of that great list of players and to be a long side those guys I was with on Saturday was a very humbling and overwhelming experience. To be recognized by the greatest conference in the country as one of its best players is something that I never dreamed of. It was a day that I will never forget.”

To make the day a little sweeter for the former Alabama player, the SEC honor came on his birthday.

“That really capped it off for me – and then I got to watch a pretty good football game,” he laughed.

In two seasons for Alabama, Griffin finished with 112 tackles, including 5.5 sacks in his senior year.

He also earned second team All-SEC honors as a senior.

After his days in Tuscaloosa, the New York Giants came calling, as the former Pike County Bulldog was drafted into the NFL in the 2000.

Griffin played 10 years in the league, retiring from the Washington Redskins, with whom he spent five years with, earlier this year.

Even though he may have put up staggering numbers while in the collegiate ranks, there were still some fans that let him know how they felt after all those years when his named was called.

“It was a good mix between some boos and some cheers,” he said with a smile. “And I kind of expected that.

“I was told there may be some boos but that’s really OK. I respect Auburn and the Auburn fans, and I think they think the same of me. The SEC is a great conference, and the south in general is the best place for football. Football means so much to the people down here, there is a lot of respect that goes around for the teams and the players that come out of the SEC. I knew something might be coming from them but that’s fine. It doesn’t take away from the honor of being at midfield before that game.”

While he said he expects Auburn to win the National Championship in January, he wants his fellow Alabama fans not worry about this past season.

“They don’t have to be too disturbed by the season,” he said with a laugh.

“Alabama has a good team, with a lot of good players on it – they are going to be good for a long time. It is a program with a lot of pride and tradition competing in a state with the same pride and tradition. It was an honor to be a part of the tradition for as long as I was. I am very thankful for those times and I know the team is going to be back to where it should be soon.”