As we’ve done in previous offseasons, we’re taking a look at those Pittsburgh Steelers under futures contracts for the 2018 offseason. We’ll focus this on the players who weren’t on the team’s practice squad last year, the mostly unknown players fans are unfamiliar with.
Next up, WR Trey Griffey.
Trey Griffey/WR Arizona – 6’2/1 209
There’s a puncher’s chance that Griffey becomes the most high-profile name out of the batch of futures contracts the Steelers dished out a few weeks ago. Not necessarily because of his talent or ability to make the 53 man roster but his name and backstory. As I’m sure you heard when the signing was made, including from us, Griffey is the son of Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. On that alone, for how ridiculous of an athlete his dad was, Griffey is a name worth remembering.
But he has not had the same success on the gridiron his dad had on the diamond. Nor the same love of baseball, he admitted in one interview, like he had for football. That led him to play football at Arizona after a strong senior season in high school, earning All-State honors.
Despite not playing baseball in college, the Seattle Mariners still took a flier on him, drafting him in the 24th round of the 2016 draft, paying homage to his dad, who wore the same number in Seattle. A nice gesture but predictably, he did not sign.
In four years with the Wildcats, he caught only 79 passes and six touchdowns. While that volume is small, he still made big impacts in pockets of time. In the final game of his freshman year in 2013, a bowl game against Boston College, he caught the first two touchdowns of his career. Including this one, showing off the same hops his dad had at the outfield wall.
Or the next season when he hauled in a 63 yard reception against Washington. How about a 2015 game versus Arizona State, hauling in a 95 yard reception with lots of YAC. 85, to be exact.
His senior season ended with 23 grabs for 382 yards and two scores. Like the rest of his career, not a high degree of volume but he was a playmaker. Just how the Steelers like ’em.
Unfortunately, he didn’t test like one. A 4.59 40 at his Pro Day coupled with a 32.5 inch vert, 9’10” broad and 7.32 three cone dashed any hopes of him getting drafted last year. After the draft, he was initially scooped up by the Indianapolis Colts. He got hurt in minicamp and placed on injured/reserved before getting waived from right after the Fourth of July.
Once he got healthy, the Miami Dolphins signed him in mid-August. It doesn’t look like he registered any stats for the team and was waived at final cutdowns. It doesn’t appear he latched on anywhere else until Pittsburgh finally signed him.
While at Miami, Griffey offered up this advice his dad had given him. Via the Palm Beach Post.
“Have fun. There are some days where you have good days, bad days, but you can’t do anything about it. Once that day is over. Once you run that route, you have to move onto the next thing. You can’t let it bother you. I mean it will affect you on your next route or your next play. So just take it one day at a time, one play at a time. Have fun and have a short mind.”
Solid advice though obviously, not always easy to follow. He’s lived in the shadow of his dad, forever linked not as Trey Griffey but Ken Griffey Jr’s son. We did it too. And we sure as heck weren’t alone.
As a UDFA scratching and clawing his way onto rosters, there’s plenty of pressure there too. Never knowing if today is the day you’re going to be asked to hand in your playbook. One bad practice might result in a change. Or it could be out of the player’s control entirely, injuries at a different position that leaves you holding the short end of the stick. Being a longshot in the NFL is not a fun place to be.
For the moment at least, the Steelers’ WR depth chart is not terribly loaded once you get past the top though that’s sure to change in a couple of months. Special teams is going to be important and is an area he might have a leg up. In 2015, despite missing roughly half the year with injury, he finished the year with nine special teams tackles. And if he can show some of that big play ability he flashed in college, there’s hope for him to stick around and finally get some NFL tape out there, even if he doesn’t make the 53, which is highly unlikely.