Reporting Grant Paulsen
Robert Griffin III spent a little more than 10 minutes fielding questions from media members at a Manhattan Subway on Tuesday morning.
The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner and the expected No. 2 pick in Thursday night’s draft, Griffin was being announced as Subway’s newest “Famous Fan.” After spending a few minutes behind the counter — making and serving several customers subs — Griffin posed for photos with himself. Well kind of. He posed with a life-sized “Smokehouse BBQ Chicken” replica of his head and shoulders.
But when Griffin began answering questions about this week’s draft, one particular quote stood out to me. He was asked what being the face of a franchise meant to him, somewhat important considering that the Redskins are drafting the 6-foot-2, 223-pounder in the hopes that they are getting a lot more than just an elite quarterback.
Griffin’s answer was one that a normal 22 year-old wouldn’t have provided, fitting considering that there is nothing normal about the electrifying signal-caller.
“It means that you represent everything that franchise wants to be about,” Griffin III said. “Integrity, hard work, dedication. When anything goes wrong, they’re looking at you. When anything goes right, they’re looking at you. You have to be able to manage that.”
The good news for Griffin, who as of Thursday will be tasked with revitalizing a Redskins team that has gone 15-33 over the past three seasons, is that he’s already experienced being the face of a program. He served as Baylor’s superstar, on and off the field, over the past three seasons. He became the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner and guided the Bears to their first bowl game in nearly two decades.
“I was blessed to have that at Baylor and grow through it, so now when I get to DC I’ll be better prepared for it and I’ll look forward to it.”
Griffin knows that the hype surrounding his expected selection by the Redskins is unlike anything the NFL has seen in years. But he isn’t worried about living up to the lofty expectations.
“You want that kind of pressure,” he said moments after tossing subs to customers like he was spinning spirals to Baylor wide receivers.
“You want those expectations. I’ve just got to make sure my team believes in me because that’s all that matters at the end of the day. If they go out there and they fight for me, then we can go out and win football games.”