By Mick Moninghoff
November 1, 2019
One of the most dominant players in the National Arena League will return to the Massachusetts Pirates for the 2020 season. Defensive end JD Griggs, an All-League performer is back for his third season with the organization.
Griggs, who was a First-Team All-NAL performer in 2018, made that list again last season. During the 2019 regular season, Griggs was second in the league in sacks with 9.5 and tied for the third most tackles for a loss with 12. Griggs also led all Pirate defensive linemen in tackles with 26.5, quarterback hurries (7) and added the team’s lone safety.
There are two main reasons why Griggs decided to return to the Pirates
“I’ve been with the team for the last three years and I’ve grown to love the team, I love the area, so I want to bring a championship to the team and the area. I also have a lot of businesses in the Massachusetts area, so I like to help promote the team as well with my businesses, so it was a “no brainer” to come back,” he said.
Over the last two seasons Griggs has a total of 17 and a half sacks and 12 QB hurries.
In 2018. Griggs, a product of Piscataway, New Jersey, had 12 solo stops and assisted on 17 others for a total of 20.5 tackles. He also had nine tackles for a loss, forced a fumble and broke up eight passes. Griggs led the Pirates with eight and a half sacks and five quarterback hurries.
Every year, Griggs strives to increase his productivity.
The goal I set for myself is to be better than the season before, so with all those stats, my goal is to keep going up. I want my stats to help win the game so my goal this year is to have more of those stats in the fourth quarter so I can finish the game strong helping the Pirates win,” he said.
Griggs says his offseason work out regiment is a big factor in his success on the field.
Every offseason I have a strict diet, a strict workout plan and that prepares me for the season. In-season I see the trends of opponent’s offensive lines and quarterbacks and I just go with the flow from there.
Now as he enters his third year with the team, Griggs knows he will have to increase his leadership role as well.
“I really relish it because I’ve learned to grow with this team and I know that sometimes in the arena game you can beat a time by 30 points and the next week we play the same team and we’ll only win by three or they might beat us. Since I’ve been playing arena football this long, I just want to give some of the new players that leadership to show them that you must keep pushing, you’re got to keep playing and that everything will work out. You just can’t quit or think that you’re up by 21 points and think that the game is over because it can turn around quickly. I want to teach our young players that you can’t give up, because that’s how you lose.”
The new year will also see Griggs becoming more of a force in the community of Worcester.
“Next year I’m hosting a few sports tournaments in basketball and flag football. I’m also hosting a basketball league next year in Worcester along with a few community events as well. We’ll be having food and clothing drives for the homeless and lower income families. I want the help the Pirates to reach out into the community through my businesses. That’s always been my favorite thing to do in the offseason and even during the season. I’ve always wanted to give back to the community especially through the team that I’m playing on,” Griggs said.
The former undrafted free agent who signed with Indianapolis of the National Football League in 2013 also saw time that season with Winnipeg in the Canadian Football League. Later stops included playing with Colorado in the IFL in 2016 and Spokane in 2017 where he led the league with 11 and a half sacks. Griggs, who played at the University of Iowa, later transferred to Nassau Community College and then finished his college career at the University of Akron.
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Forster St. Worcester, MA, 01608. Pirates season tickets for the 2020 season are now available starting at $99.00. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email [email protected] or visit www.masspiratesfootball.com. Follow the Pirates on Facebook, at Facebook.com/MAPirates, on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as on Twitter @mass_pirates.