Griffin recalls different NFL draft era

LIMA — NFL draft day in 1976 was a simpler, quieter time for Archie Griffin than Thursday night was for the Ohio State players taken in the first round of this year’s draft.

ESPN wouldn’t go on the air for another 3 ½ years. The Academy Awards-like red carpet fashion show of the top athletes arriving for the draft would have been unimaginable.

Even more unimaginable back then would be the level of hype that would surround a two-time Heisman Trophy winner like Griffin now.

Griffin, who was in Lima on Thursday to speak at Ohio State University-Lima’s annual Spring for Scholarships fundraiser, thought back to the day when he was drafted in the first round, No. 24 overall, by the Cincinnati Bengals.

“It was not nearly like it is these days. I sat in my apartment, waiting for a call,” Griffin said. “That’s basically how it happened.

“It was exciting, but not nearly the hoopla that goes on today,” he said.

The day he signed his national letter of intent to play at Ohio State in 1972 was similarly low key.

“Woody (Hayes) came over to my high school and I signed the letter of intent, but not with a press conference or anything like that. It was just going up to the principal’s office and signing it and making sure everything was taken care of,” Griffin said.

He said all of the top Ohio State players in this year’s draft are NFL ready.

“We’ve got quite a class that is being drafted this year,” he said. The idea of several Buckeyes going in the first round is “pretty special,” he said.

He said OSU, with 16 first-year starters, will be good but young in 2016.

“We’re going to be OK. One thing you can count on is that the staff has done a wonderful job recruiting. There is a lot of good talent there. It’s just that we’ll be young,” he said.

Griffin played seven years in the NFL and has worked for Ohio State for more than 30 years.

He had various roles in the athletic department for 20 years and was president of the OSU Alumni Association from 2004 to 2015 before taking on a part-time role as a senior adviser in the university’s Office of Advancement a year ago.

Part of that role is promoting donations for scholarships. “No question it’s harder,” he said when asked if paying for college is more difficult now than in the 1970s.

“With the cost of getting a college education, scholarships are so important,” he said.

Griffin has spoken often in the area but he will be making more trips to Lima in the future with his son, Andre, taking over as Lima Senior’s head football coach.

“I’m looking forward to Andre coaching. I know he’s really excited about it. I think he’s prepared. He’s had some good experience at Saginaw Valley State with Jim Collins. He’s looking forward to it, I’m looking forward to it and I expect to be here a lot more,” he said.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
}
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
}
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
}
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;
}

Archie Griffin speaks Thursday during the annual Spring for Scholarships fundraiser at Ohio State University-Lima.
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2016/04/web1_04.29.16.griffin-3.jpgArchie Griffin speaks Thursday during the annual Spring for Scholarships fundraiser at Ohio State University-Lima.

Andrea Pyles from Waynesfield has her purse autographed Thursday by Archie Griffin during the annual Spring for Scholarships fundraiser at Ohio State University-Lima.
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2016/04/web1_Archie-Griffin-DS1-3.jpgAndrea Pyles from Waynesfield has her purse autographed Thursday by Archie Griffin during the annual Spring for Scholarships fundraiser at Ohio State University-Lima.
Two-time Heisman winner speaks at OSU-Lima fundraiser

By Jim Naveau

[email protected]

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.

Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.