Houston Texans' Ryan Griffin returns home to face New England Patriots

By The Sports Xchange   |   Jan. 12, 2017 at 8:24 AM
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HOUSTON -- Growing up in Londonderry, New Hampshire, Houston Texans tight end Ryan Griffin was a passionate fan of the New England Patriots.

Griffin and his friends would watch the games on television from the start of the Tom Brady era and the tradition-rich dynasty the Patriots' quarterback launched with coach Bill Belichick. Living roughly two hours from Gillette Stadium, the 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end is embracing this moment as the Texans prepare to square off with the Patriots in an AFC divisional playoff game Saturday night.

"Me and my friends would be out playing in the snow at halftime when Tom and them were playing," said Griffin, who celebrated his 27th birthday Wednesday. "It's going to be a cool experience. I watched every single game, but I never got to go."

A former sixth-round draft pick from Connecticut and a former all-state selection at Londonderry High School, Griffin acknowledged that he'll probably take a moment or two to soak up the atmosphere of the game as he plays against the team he grew up rooting for.

"Maybe I will, maybe I will," Griffin said. "I deserve it, to be honest. I'm not going to let the opportunity pass me by, and I'm looking forward to taking down the Patriots on Saturday night."

Griffin has purchased 27 tickets to the game so his family and friends can attend.

"It's going to be pretty awesome," Griffin said. "Before and after the game, it will be pretty special."

Griffin and fellow tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz could have central roles in this game after the Texans were shut out 27-0 in September by the Patriots. Griffin has caught a career-high 50 passes for 442 yards and two touchdowns while Fiedorowicz has 54 catches for 559 yards and four scores.

The Patriots utilized a two-deep safety coverage scheme to limit the impact of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins during the first meeting.

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