ALAMEDA – The NFL suspended Tennessee Titans strong safety Michael Griffin one game without pay for repeated violations of rules prohibiting hits to the head and neck of defenseless receivers.
A vicious hit on Raiders rookie tight end Mychal Rivera was the final straw.
Griffin lowered his helmet and shoulder and hit Rivera in the head and neck during the first quarter of Sunday’s game at Oakland Coliseum.
Griffin was penalized for the hit, which knocked Rivera’s helmet clean off, concussed him and sidelined him the rest of the game.
"All I can say is I apologize to the Titans fans, my teammates and the organization,” Griffin said in a text message to Nashville Tennesseean reporter Jim Wyatt, who posted the correspondence on his Twitter feed. “I also hope Rivera is doing well and I apologize to (Rivera) and his family. I was trying to do my job but in the end I hurt the team."
The Rivera hit was Griffin’s fourth violation since 2011 and his second this season, a sum that prompted the NFL to take action. According to Pro Football Talk, Griffin will appeal the suspension.
Rivera has passed early portion of the NFL’s concussion protocol, although it remains uncertain whether he’ll be able to play on Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys.
“My understanding, from talking to our medical people, is that he was feeling pretty good after the game and was feeling good this morning,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “They’ve begun the concussion protocol for him. We’ll see how that goes.”