Griggs, a San Diego Chargers starting linebacker, had three solo tackles and two assists in last season's Super Bowl loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
The accident occurred at 11:50 p.m. Monday on an exit ramp connecting the Florida Turnpike with several roads in North Miami Beach, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Police said Griggs, who was the only person in the car, was driving at a high rate of speed when he lost control of his black 1992 Lexus at the
intersection. The car crossed a divider and another exit ramp and rolled into a grassy median strip before crashing into a large steel sign pole. The car
bent around the pole, which penetrated about three feet into the passenger side of the car, police said.
Paramedics on the scene detected some vital signs, but Griggs was pronounced dead on arrival at Broward General Hospital at 12:31 a.m. yesterday, a hospital spokesman said.
Police said there was no sign that alcohol or drugs were involved in the crash. Richard Rodriguez, an investigator with the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office, said Griggs died of "blunt cranial cerebral trauma." He said toxicology tests would require five to 10 days.
A 6-foot-3, 250-pound outside linebacker, Griggs played five seasons with the Miami Dolphins before signing a $1 million contract with San Diego in March 1994. He received his AFC championship ring last week.
Griggs was The Inquirer's South Jersey defensive player of the year in 1984, and he then had a distinguished career at the University of Virginia before being chosen in the seventh round by the New Orleans Saints, who eventually waived him.
At Pennsauken High, a school that produced five NFL players from the Delair section of town where Griggs lived, the former two-way end was an imposing figure.
Pennsauken mayor Rick Taylor, also an assistant principal at Pennsauken High, called Griggs an outgoing person who was "probably one of the best- conditioned, strongest athletes that ever went through this school."
"When he was playing high school ball, it was almost like he was a man among boys," he said.
Vince McAneney, who last week retired after 25 years as Pennsauken's head football coach, remembered Griggs as an "extremely coachable" player who never missed a practice.
McAneney received numerous phone calls from former Pennsauken players yesterday.
"Everybody is devastated," he said. "He had a mean streak on the football field but he was a great person besides a great football player. He always handled himself with class."
Pete Tate, Pennsauken's defensive coordinator the last 25 years, said he received a phone call at 5:30 a.m. yesterday from the distraught Rory Wood, a Pennsauken linebacker in the late 1980s. Wood told Tate the news.
Tate said he would never forget Griggs' personality.
"He had a smile on his face all the time," he said. "It was a little on the mischievous side, but it was a neat, nice smile. He was a fun kid who liked people. He always had decorum that would make you proud if you were his mother or father."
Tate and McAneney said the last time they saw Griggs was at the Pennsauken Hall of Fame dinner in March. Griggs was inducted.
"He didn't want to talk about football," Tate said. "All he wanted to talk about was his new daughter. Talk about somebody who was proud to be a parent - that was David."
Griggs is survived by his wife, Amy; a 1-year-old daughter, Jasmine; his parents, Rocky and Dolores; and a brother, Billy, who played tight end for the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. David and Billy Griggs were part owners of a Delran gym.
A Chargers spokesman said the club was starting a trust fund for Griggs' daughter.
Griggs' parents, who still live in Pennsauken, were on their way to Florida yesterday. Funeral arrangements were pending.
Pennsauken, meanwhile, held its graduation ceremonies last night.
"I imagine it will be on the somber side," Tate said before the event.