RG3: “People say DC’s my Town not Obama’s, I Don’t Look at it That way, But I can see What They’re Saying”

Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III (or RG3) is being featured in an upcoming ESPN “The Magazine” article written by J.R. Moehringer.

The interview, which is over 5000 words in length, details some of the moments of Griffin’s young life as well as his playing career.

The following are a collection of excerpts from the article:

– In the fall of 2009, just when Briles and the fans in Baylor Stadium were starting to dream big, Griffin went down. Anterior cruciate ligament. The whole Baylor community took it hard (overnight, the stadium was half-empty, Griffin says), but Griffin took it to heart. He personalized the injury, made it his fault. “I saw how many people I let down,” he says. “My head coach cried. My offensive coordinator cried. My offensive line coach cried.”

Then he saw, beneath their sorrow, a genuine concern for him. “Not even worried about the season — worried about me as a person & I saw that in their eyes.”

It broke his spirit. It lifted his heart. Until that moment, RG3 says, he’d never embraced football. He’d always played full speed, all out, but he’d never cherished the game, not until it was taken from him. “I didn’t love football before I tore my ACL. When I came back, I loved it.”

–  He insists that as last season wore on, he became more — you should forgive the word — conservative. Take Week 14, he says. He was leveled, laid out, by Baltimore’s Haloti Ngata, a behemoth descended from the Kingdom of Tonga who, that day, descended from the sky. The hit caused Griffin’s leg to fly straight up in the air, then whipsaw from side to side, like the needle on a lie detector.

“You’ll never see anyone get injured like that again,” Griffin says. “All 350 pounds of Ngata, all the massiveness that is Haloti Ngata, running at you full speed, and as I’m getting down he hits my leg.” Just a “freak” thing, he adds. He was trying to stop running, trying to slide. What more do people want? Everyone harasses Griffin to change his game, he says, “but what everyone doesn’t realize is — I did change my game.”

– Kirk Cousins, the Redskins’ talented backup, who relieved Griffin in the Baltimore game and again in the Seattle game, recalls eavesdropping on an intense sideline conference between Griffin and Shanahan: “Robert, you’re clearly limping, you’re not at full strength, do you think you need to come out? And I’m not quoting anybody, I’m just paraphrasing. And Robert’s attitude was: I’m okay. I understand there’s a limp, but I’m going to be okay. I brought us this far, I want to finish this thing.”

Cousins adds: “I think it was tough for Coach Shanahan to tell him no. And it was tough for Robert to back down. Both of them were in a tough spot, each guy’s word against the other.”

– “If I had another incident like the Ngata hit, I’m out of the game. You pull yourself out at that point. You learn from your mistakes.”

What about the Seahawks game? “I don’t feel like playing against the Seahawks was a mistake. But I see the mistake in it.”

Come again?

“With what happened and how everything was running — you take me out. If that happened again next year, I’d come out of the game and sit until I was 100 percent healthy.”

– When Griffin woke in the operating room, he once again saw his entire football family with tears in their eyes. The family members were different — Dan Snyder, Redskins owner; Bruce Allen, general manager; Tony Wyllie, head of public relations — but Griffin’s feeling of gratitude was the same. “It’s tough for professional athletes to trust anyone in this business,” he says. “When the owner of the team, the general manager of the team, the PR director of the team, they’re all there, that’s how you know: I can trust these guys.”

– “A lot of people have said DC’s my town, it’s not Obama’s town,” RG3 says. “Obama’s the second most popular person in the city. I don’t look at it that way. But I can see what they’re saying.”

– The hair, he says, began as a mild rebellion. His parents decreed that he couldn’t wear it long until he left their house, so he grew it out the minute he left. His sister braided it the first time; his mother braids it best. Now it’s his signature. He couldn’t cut it if he wanted to. He’d be the Felicity of football. “People associate me with braids,” he says. “It lets people with long hair say: Look, my long hair does not define me. Just because I have long hair and I’m African-American doesn’t mean I smoke weed.”

The full article can be found by CLICKING HERE

RG3 ESPN The Mag Cover

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