Lions' Everson Griffen: Mike Zimmer Calling Me Good Player 'Hurts My Feelings'

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent INovember 5, 2020

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Everson Griffen (97) in action during an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)
Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

When defensive end Everson Griffen reunites with his former team on Sunday when the Detroit Lions face the Minnesota Vikings, he'll be doing so with Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on his mind.

According to Chad Graff of The Athletic, Zimmer said Griffen, who played for the Vikings for the first 10 years of his NFL career, was a "good player," to which Griffen took offense. 

"For him to call me a good player, that kind of hurts my feelings," Griffen said.

Griffen continued to express his frustration and said he would be motivated by the comments Sunday. He also emphasized the word "great" on social media:

Everson Griffen @EversonGriffen

REMEMBER this one thing. I play this game of football because I love it. Not because I need it. We GREAT over here. Stay sleep I like it.

The 32-year-old opted out his contract with Minnesota in February and joined Dallas in August on a one-year contract. The struggling Cowboys dealt him to the Lions last week.

"He's going to see on Sunday what I've got coming for him. He's going to be put some respect on my name. He wasn't just a good coach to me; he was a great coach," Griffen said of Zimmer, who joined the Vikings in 2014.  

Through 10 seasons in Minnesota, the team's fourth-round pick in 2010 was selected to the Pro Bowl four times, totaling 74.5 sacks and 355 tackles through 147 games. After three consecutive Pro Bowl nods from 2015-17, Griffen made his fourth appearance last season, when he played in 15 games for the Vikings and added eight sacks, 41 tackles and 24 quarterback hits.

Without Griffen, the Vikings defense is ranked 16th in the league in efficiency through Week 8, compared to a final season ranking of fourth in 2019, per Football Outsiders.

Griffen took a backseat through seven games with Dallas this season and did not start once. He collected 2.5 sacks, 20 tackles and six quarterback hits, appearing on exactly half of the team's defensive snaps—a career low. With Lions defensive end Trey Flowers going on injured reserve with a shoulder injury on Monday, Griffen should see more time in Detroit.