Everson Griffen: 'It’s been a rough year for me, but I’m still here'

Griffen was honored by the Vikings with the Ed Block Courage Award.
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Everson Griffen

It's been nearly two months since defensive end Everson Griffen returned the Vikings after taking five weeks off to focus on his personal well-being, and on Wednesday he was honored by the Vikings with the 2018 Ed Block Courage Award. 

The award is given to one player on each team who "exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage," which his teammates and coaches felt he did after going public about a mental health crisis that forced him to take a break from football. 

“That means I’ve got a lot of support from my teammates, my coaches and this organization. It’s a good feeling,” Griffen said, via Vikings.com. “It’s been a rough year for me, but I’m still here, I’m still standing, and that’s the main thing. I’m here to fight, and I’m a fighter. That’s all that matters.”

Griffen had a half-sack in each of Minnesota's first two games of the season before missing the Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills, and that same weekend was involved in a series of incidents that led to Griffen checking himself into a hospital for a mental health evaluation. 

He returned prior to Minnesota's Week 8 game in late October and has been taking things day-by-day ever since. 

"Positivity day-by-day,” he said. "We’re still winning games … we’ve got a big game coming up against Detroit, and that’s what my focus has been on."

Read: 6 clinching scenarios Vikings could face with win or loss at Detroit

The off-field incidents Griffen was allegedly involved in took place the weekend of Sept. 22-23, with a report from the Minnetrista Police Department saying a Vikings official contacted another department with worries that Griffen might've been experiencing a nervous breakdown stemming from an issue at Hotel Ivy in Minneapolis. 

Griffen's wife was able to get in contact with police, at one point telling officers that Griffen told her: "I just want help" as he was battling "demons" in his head, the police report said. 

The former Pro Bowl defensive end has 4.5 sacks this season and has been in the starting lineup each of the last seven weeks. 

You can read more about the September incidents involving Griffen here

If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, you can find your local adult mental health support numbers here.

Past winners of the Ed Block Courage Award are: 

  • 2017: Kyle Rudolph
  • 2016: Teddy Bridgewater
  • 2015: Phil Loadholt
  • 2014: Greg Jennings
  • 2013: Kevin Williams
  • 2012: Adrian Peterson
  • 2011: Anthony Herrera
  • 2010: Cedric Griffin
  • 2009: E.J. Henderson
  • 2008: Kenechi Udeze
  • 2007: Chad Greenway
  • 2006: Matt Birk
  • 2005: Koren Robinson
  • 2004: Corey Chavous
  • 2003: Eric Kelly
  • 2002: Lewis Kelly
  • 2001: Daunte Culpepper
  • 2000: Gary Anderson
  • 1999: Robert Griffith
  • 1998: Randall Cunningham
  • 1997: Robert Smith
  • 1996: Scottie Graham
  • 1995: John Randle
  • 1994: Cris Carter
  • 1993: Henry Thomas
  • 1992: Darrin Nelson
  • 1991: Terry Allen
  • 1990: Gary Zimmerman
  • 1989: Jim Gustafson
  • 1988: Leo Lewis
  • 1987: Scott Studwell
  • 1986: Walker Lee Ashley
  • 1985: Keith Nord
  • 1984: Steve Riley

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