Vikings end Everson Griffen arrested for battery of a police officer
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Last April, Everson Griffen was a first-round talent who ended up being drafted in the fourth.
Less than a month into Griffen's first NFL offseason, there is a reminder of why he fell.
The Minnesota Vikings defensive end was arrested for felony battery of a police officer around 4 p.m. Pacific on Monday afternoon, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department records. The arrest happened near the University of Southern California's campus, and Griffen remained in custody early Tuesday morning, with bail set at $50,000.
Griffen, 23, reportedly was at alma mater earlier in the day to visit with coaches and former teammates. Per the Daily Trojan, which first reported the story:
Police officers were performing a traffic stop at the intersection of 30th and Hoover Streets when they pulled Griffen over. He did not have an I.D. on him and became aggressive when questioned by officers, according to an LAPD spokesperson. Griffen attempted to run away and then assaulted one of the officers who was pursuing him. The officers tased Griffen, then arrested him on a charge of felony battery.
Citing sources familiar with the investigation, The Los Angeles Times reported Griffen had an invalid driver's license and told officers "he did not want to go back to jail" before running. He subsequently grabbed an officer in the groin area before he was subdued with a Taser, the Times reported.
The celebrity gossip Web site TMZ.com reported Griffen also was arrested on Friday night for being drunk in public. That report could not be confirmed late Monday night.
Neither the Vikings nor Griffen's agent, Gary Wichard, responded to e-mails seeking comment. It's important to note that Griffen has not yet been charged with any crime related to Monday's alleged incident.
At a minimum, though, the arrest appears to continue a disturbing pattern of irresponsibility on and off the field that prompted at least one NFL team to take Griffen off its draft board altogether.
On July 4, 2009, he was cited for a noise violation while partying with teammate Jordan Campbell, although charges never were filed in that case. On the field, he gained a reputation for being immature and high-maintenance, disappearing for stretches and at times appearing uncompetitive.
The Vikings did extra work on Griffen's background before drafting him with the 100th overall pick. Three scouts made campus visits, in addition to the one-on-one conversations Griffen had with vice president of football operations Rick Spielman and defensive coach Karl Dunbar.
Signed to a four-year contract that included a $540,000 signing bonus, $75,000 of which was deferred until March 15 of this year, Griffen was inactive for the season's first five games before carving out a role on special teams. The 6-foot-3, 273-pound pass rusher finished with eight tackles (six solo) on coverage units, plus another seven tackles (five solo) and four quarterback pressures in 64 snaps on defense.
Left end Ray Edwards' likely departure makes Griffen a dark horse to start in 2011. Depending what happens with his legal situation, though, Griffen's primary concern may be staying on the roster at all.
UPDATE, 11:44 p.m.: Monday's arrest makes this old April Fool's Day joke by Griffen's college coach, Pete Carroll, seem just a bit less funny: