June 21, 2021

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Ryan ‘Sticky Hands’ Griffin becoming glue to the…

3 min read
Ryan 'Sticky Hands' Griffin becoming glue to the...

Ryan Griffin didn’t really have sticky fingers, but the veteran tight end certainly is embracing his chance to stick around with the Jets.

Griffin, who is emerging as a key offensive contributor in the absence of injured starter Chris Herndon, pretended the football stuck to his hand on a spike during his celebration of a 16-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter of last Sunday’s win against Washington.

The former UConn star insisted Thursday that he had no “Stickum,” which has been banned by the NFL since 1981, or any other substance on his gloves. He only was mimicking a celebration he remembered from playing the Madden video football game in the early 2000s.

“The Madden game, circa 2004, I used to play it all the time — my UConn buddy Steve Brown, an old teammate of mine, said to bring that back. It worked out pretty well,” Griffin said after practice in Florham Park in preparation for Sunday’s game against Oakland. “Everybody’s asking me, ‘Did you really have Stickum on?’ I was like, ‘No, that would be against the rules.’ They checked us before we went out there.

“But I’m glad I executed it that well that people were confused as to whether I had Stickum on. That means that it went well.”

Griffin appears ready to capitalize on his sudden viral fame, as he was wearing a green T-shirt officially licensed with the NFLPA logo on it — sent to him by the sports apparel company 500 Level — with the phrase “Sticky Hands Griffin” on the front.

In all, Sticky Hands managed five receptions for 109 yards against the Redskins, the first game in Griffin’s seven-year career in which he recorded more than 100 receiving yards. For the season, he has 25 catches for 269 yards and a career-best four touchdowns, likely more than the Jets could have envisioned when they signed him just before the start of training camp.

Griffin, 29, was released by the Texans shortly after he was arrested for public intoxication and vandalism for punching out a hotel window on April 26, the second night of the NFL draft in Nashville. The charges were later dismissed.

“When he got here, we didn’t know what the signing was going to be,” Jets offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “We knew we were signing a good football player, but he gets here and you can feel his savviness and how much football intelligence he has and being a pro for a while has definitely helped him. He understands the game very well.

“We’re really fortunate, and that was a good move by the front office to get him, because he’s a good football player who’s helped this team.”

Herndon is out for the season with a fractured rib suffered in his lone appearance of the season, Nov. 10 against the Giants. He also missed time earlier this season because of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy and then with a hamstring injury.

Herndon registered 39 receptions for 502 yards as a rookie last season, but Griffin instead has emerged as a dependable target for quarterback Sam Darnold in recent weeks. He totaled 10 catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns in losses bridging October and November against Jacksonville and Miami. His career high with Houston was a 50-catch campaign in 2016.

“I’d rather have zero catches in a win than 10 in a loss,” Griffin said. “As long as we can help the team win offensively, I think it really helps if the tight ends can contribute.

“I’ve had a lot of different roles coming through my seventh year in the league now, and I’ve always just tried to do what the coaches ask of me. I would never want to [say] I’m not getting the ball. I just trying to perform my role. Whether that’s catching 50 balls … or whether it was a 20-catch year and I was doing a lot of the in-line blocking stuff, I just take pride in doing my job, whatever that is.”


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