I came across this article about Everson Griffen and his new focus on the straight and narrow. I took a few things away from this article beyond the obvious (i.e. someone told Everson to cut it out and get back to business).
Here's the article link and a repost of the story with my own incredibly insightful commentary to follow: http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Vikings-Everson-Griffen-says-hes-a-changed-man.html
"No longer in trouble with the law after a pair of arrests in January for resisting arrest and allegedly being drunk in public, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen says he's a changed man.
Prosecutors decided not to file charges against Griffen, who was tased by police after he attempted to run away from them following a traffic stop. When officers attempted to restrain the NFL player, he allegedly "grabbed an officer's crotch."
Now, the former USC player is working out in Minnesota to spend time with teammates after getting in trouble in Los Angeles, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
"I had a little rough stretch," Griffen said. "Coaches want me back, and that's the place for me to be. That's not me at all. I'm just trying to make changes. I've got big years coming up. I'm just trying to show the Minnesota Vikings I'm here for good."
Athletically gifted, Griffen built a reputation for having vast potential while playing for the Trojans. However, he also disappointed the coaching staff by not achieving that potential.
Griffen was counseled by Vikings coach Leslie Frazier about his legal problems as well as an ill-conceived Las Vegas party that was cancelled.
"He said, 'Know what you're here for,'" Griffen said. "I'm here to play football. I'm here to represent the Minnesota Vikings, and I want to represent them in a good way, not a bad way."
So here are the three most important things that I get from this article:
First, it's clear that Griffen's public relations specialist got Frazier's message and is making an attempt to improve Griffen's positioning in the media. While this isn't quite the same thing as Griffen himself recognizing that he has a problem, getting a professional athlete's "people" onboard is an important first step to correcting a player's pre-disposition towards bad behavior.
Second, when I read that Griffen "allegedly 'grabbed an officer's crotch.'" I couldn't help but think that Bryant "Love Boat" McKinnie is having an influence on the younger players in the locker room. That's not an entirely good thing of course, but it shows an improvement in McKinnie's view of the "team concept" from a year ago when McKinnie traded in his spot at the Pro Bowl for a stool at a Miami strip club.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the fact that Griffen "was tased by police after he attempted to run away from them" makes it clear to me that Griffen needs to have a quicker first step if he's going to be successful on the D-line. If he couldn't outrun and guy wearing 15 pounds of gear and carrying a battery operated device in one hand, I'm not optimistic that he's got the quickness to play the left defensive end position this season.
I'll now conclude this post by admitting that I will be interested to see the impact that Griffen's unorthodox off-season preparations will have on his 2011 season.