NFL

Ken Griffey Jr.’s Son Struggled to Make It in the NFL

It isn’t easy being a legendary athlete’s son. Look at the NFL, where few have eclipsed their dads. (Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck are two examples.) Trey Griffey is a better athlete than most. But he’s the son of Ken Griffey, Jr., so he’ll always be compared to the MLB Hall of Famer. Here’s how his football career has progressed and how he compares to his father.

Ken Griffey Jr.’s son, Trey, played college football

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According to Behind the Steel Curtain, Trey played his college football for the University of Arizona. He had 79 receptions for 1,241 yards, adding on six touchdowns in his career as a Wildcat. In his first two seasons, his primary contribution to the squad came on special teams where he had nine tackles.

Trey injured his foot during his junior year so he struggled to make an impact. His senior year was his best. He caught 23 balls for 382 yards with two touchdowns. These numbers aren’t outstanding, but Trey did show potential at the collegiate level, which caused pro scouts to take notice. He did draw attention in NFL circles — though he was not drafted. 

Trey Griffey’s NFL career

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Thus far, Trey has had a difficult time having an impact on an NFL team. After going undrafted, the Indianapolis Colts signed him as a free agent according to Bleacher Report. He couldn’t catch on with their roster, unfortunately, and the team waived him in June 2017.

After this, Trey headed to Miami, where he’d record two preseason receptions with the team before being cut. In 2018, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to their practice squad. That year, they had an incredibly deep group of receivers, and Trey was unable to crack the roster. 

While he’s clearly a talented athlete, his performance (or lack thereof) in the NFL so far shows just how difficult it is to make it in the league. 

Comparing the careers of the Griffeys

What had to be toughest for Trey was living in the legendary shadow of his father. A simple look at Ken’s numbers doesn’t quite do him justice. In the ’90s, he was the biggest superstar in baseball and arguably the best player of that decade alongside Barry Bonds.

Few MLB players during that era captured the public’s imagination the way Junior did. Ken’s distinctive swing, five-tool skill set, and fun approach was a hit with fans. He was a great example of an elite player who didn’t take himself too seriously. Ken worked hard, but he wore his cap backward. He played the game with flair.

It seems like Trey’s pro sports career may not live up to his father’s legacy. That’s less an indictment of Trey, however, and more of a testament to Junior’s greatness. It’s comparable to Michael Jordan’s sons and their basketball careers. No one can live up to a legend, so it’s really unfair to compare them. 

Trey may not be a Hall of Famer like his Dad, but he competed at an extremely high level and made it to the NFL. That’s something that roughly 1% of college football players can claim. He’s in great company as an athlete.