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Griffiths calls time on AFL career

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Richmond tall forward Ben Griffiths has announced his retirement from AFL football, effective immediately.

Griffiths has been offered a four-year scholarship at the University of Southern California, where he will pursue a career as an American football punter.

Griffiths was drafted to Richmond in the 2009 AFL National Draft with pick No. 19.

He made his AFL debut in Round 10 of the 2010 season and went on to play 63 senior matches for the Tigers.

"Firstly, I'd like to thank Richmond's players, coaches and staff for their support over the past eight years," Griffiths said.

"This was a difficult decision to make, but ultimately the opportunity was too good to refuse.

"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.”

Richmond's general manager - football, Neil Balme, said Griffiths would be missed at Tigerland.

"This is a great opportunity for Ben and we thank him for his service over the past eight years," Balme said.

“It came as a shock when Ben made the announcement on Thursday morning.

“Coming in to season 2018, we expected Ben to put together a strong pre-season and again feature as a forward target for us.

“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.

"I wish Ben and the Griffiths family all the best for the future."

The 26-year-old was contracted with the Tigers until the end of 2018.