Nov 24, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Tennessee Titans free safety Michael Griffin (33) tackles Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera (81) in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans Michael Griffin suspended one game for headshot on Raiders Mychal Rivera, apologizes for reckless hit

The NFL announced Monday that Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin will be suspended for one game for a hit that knocked out Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera on Sunday.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, citing an NFL release, Griffin was suspended by NFL vice president of operations Merton Hanks for being a repeat offender of the league’s ban of hits to the head and neck of defenseless receivers.

Griffin apologized for the hit on Twitter, but said he there is “nothing he can do but appeal” the one game suspension. A costly one with the Titans now holding onto the sixth seed in the AFC, meaning that the Titans would be in the playoffs if the season were to end today.

  Rivera had his helmet knocked off on the play and sustained a concussion. He did not return to Oakland’s 23-19 loss to Tennessee, while Griffin was flagged for a personal foul on the play. Raiders coach Dennis Allen didn’t rule out having Rivera on Thursday in Dallas, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Rivera and cornerback Mike Jenkins, who also sustained a concussion, have a short window with which to go through the league-mandated protocols for returning from a brain injury, but Allen said they had already passed some of the tests. Chronicle beat writer Vic Tafur also confirmed that Rivera was on the field during Monday’s night walkthrough practice.

 

It is a blessing that Rivera will be able to play on Thursday and has passed the concussion tests, but Griffin earned more than his one game suspension with a clear intent to injure the Raiders tight end. Physical play has a spot in the game, but headshots like that are the types of plays the NFL is trying to stamp out of the game and are the sole reason for the targeting fouls that defensive backs loathe so much. Don’t expect Griffin to successfully appeal his suspension.

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