RICHMOND big man Ben Griffiths has announced his AFL retirement to take up a scholarship as a punter with a college in the United States.
The 26-year-old will join the University of Southern Califiornia (USC) after being offered a four-year scholarship.
Drafted with pick No.19 in the 2009 National Draft, Griffiths managed 63 games in his eight seasons at Punt Road.
“This was a difficult decision to make, but ultimately the opportunity was too good to refuse,” Griffiths said.
“It certainly wasn’t something I had been contemplating and only arose two weeks ago.
“It was tough telling my teammates and coaches this morning but they understand and support my decision.
“I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to play AFL football and it was an honour to represent the Richmond Football Club.”
Tigers football boss Neil Balme says Griffiths decision “came as a shock” to the club.
“Coming in to season 2018, we expected Ben to put together a strong pre-season and again feature as a forward target for us,” he said.,
“However, we understand this opportunity was too good for him to say no to and we support his decision.
“Ben is a naturally talented athlete and I have no doubt he will quickly adapt to American football.”
USC plays in the strong Pac-12 conference and finished the 2017 season ranked 12th in America.