Clawing Away: A Tribute To Former Wolverine and NFL Journeyman Brian Griese

Erin McLaughlinSenior Analyst IIJuly 16, 2009

7 Oct 1995:  Quarterback Brian Griese of the Michigan Wolverines looks to pass during a game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Northwestern won the game, 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport

Two days ago former Michigan quarterback Brian Griese was released by Tampa Bay.  With Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich battling for the starting job and Josh Freeman in place to eventually take over, Griese was the odd man out. So it really wasn't much of a shock that Griese was cut.

What is next for Griese?

Does he try to land with yet another team? One that would make sense would be the New England Patriots. There he would back up Tom Brady who backed him up at Michigan. Brady is coming back from surgery and Griese would be a good insurance plan if Brady were to go down again.

Looking around the league there are definitely teams who need a backup.

The other option for Griese would be to retire. I don't know that he will do that just yet, but his career has definitely been one that was up and down.

After leading Michigan to it's only National Championship in my lifetime, Griese was drafted by the Denver Broncos. He earned a Super Bowl ring his first year in the league when he backed up John Elway. Then Elway retired and Griese took over.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

That is where the roller coaster ride began.

His first year starting was highlighted with injuries and inconsistency. Then in his second year he made the Pro Bowl. The team qualified for the playoffs but a late season injury kept Griese out. Then the next couple of years saw Griese do some good things but now Bronco fans are expecting him to be John Elway.

Griese learned how tough it was following a legend. Then Griese went to the Miami Dolphins. A Griese in Miami was supposed to be a hit. It didn't work out and he was out after a year.

Then Griese was bounced between Tampa Bay and Chicago.

During those years he was also in and out of the starting line up. He kept getting injured and that made it impossible for any team to make him the long term starter. Through all of his experience though I think Griese has been a valuable asset to the teams as the backup.

How people evaluate Griese's career is really up to them. I see him as one of the best backup quarterbacks in football. I think he could have been more had circumstances been different and he not had so many injuries. He has made his own share of mistakes but fate didn't really help him.

Either way, I don't care how other people remember Brian Griese. I remember him as the only quarterback to lead Michigan to a National Championship in my lifetime.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.