CHANTILLY, Va. (CBSDC) — Robert Griffin III isn’t a member of the Washington Redskins yet, but you wouldn’t know it judging by the droves of burgundy and gold clad fans who spent their Saturday afternoon welcoming him to D.C.
Appearing at the Collectors’ Showcase of America expo in Chantilly, those fans gladly forked over $100 for the opportunity to shake hands and have their photo taken with the projected future face of the franchise. And yes, they all got his autograph.
Griffin was in demand, signing autographs for hours. The line to meet the Heisman Trophy winner moved slowly, as he took his time to chat with every individual who paid for the privilege of face time with him, making sure they got their money’s worth.
He was so gracious with his time that event organizers were concerned he wouldn’t be able to finish signing the thousands of other items in a private staging area in the back specifically for wholesale vendors before he had to leave.
Griffin was able to get the job done, but it came at the expense of the media who were kept at bay and unable to obtain comment.
The Baylor product was paid a five-figure sum for his appearance, which proved to be a nice investment for the promoter.
Although Griffin was the most talked about athlete at this weekend’s event, he was not the highest paid. That honor belongs to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who will be paid more than $100,000 for his time on Sunday.
The Super Bowl winning quarterback had more advanced autograph ticket sales than Griffin, although organizers believe Griffin will ultimately prove to be the weekend’s biggest draw.
Marco Rol, the event’s promoter, said the interest in Griffin was unlike anything he had seen for a player just coming out of college.
It wasn’t the typical collectors and autograph seekers who were at this show. It was die-hard fans, many of whom were attending a memorabilia expo for the first time.
One fan in particular wore Superman socks (complete with little red capes), a mock throwback burgundy and gold helmet and a t-shirt with an altered Redskins logo that bore Griffin’s face rather than the Native American.
Many other fans were proudly wearing t-shirts that simply read “RG3 In DC.”
They’ll be out of luck, and the cost of the apparel, if he surprisingly moves up one spot in the draft and becomes Peyton Manning’s replacement with the Indianapolis Colts.
But fans weren’t thinking about that possibility on Saturday. For one day only Griffin was a Redskin.