x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

NFL: Robert Griffin III says he is 'the guy who will lead' in Washington

The rookie quarterback says he has no individual goals set, only things he wants his team, the Redskins, to accomplish.

Robert Griffin III said he was anxious and maybe even a little nervous for the mini-camps and OTAs to start.
Robert Griffin III said he was anxious and maybe even a little nervous for the mini-camps and OTAs to start.

Robert Griffin III's burgundy shirt read: "No Pressure. No Diamonds".

The Heisman Trophy knows it is not quite that simple. Not for a quarterback in position to start for the Washington Redskins after being selected second overall in the NFL draft.

He still put up a pretty good argument before the Redskins open training camp.

"I was more anxious, maybe a little nervous for mini-camp and OTAs," Griffin said, "I've been through the offence, got a taste for how fast the game is and just what I need to do as a quarterback to help this team win. I feel a lot more comfortable.

"It's actually more relaxing. There's nothing going on outside of football. It's all smiles in the locker room. In the short time, we've built great relationships."

Some of that relationship building happened in Waco, Texas, in late June when Griffin welcomed the receivers Santana Moss, Pierre Garcon, Anthony Armstrong, Brandon Banks and the tight end Fred Davis to work out with him at Baylor.

"Throwing with the guys over the break, you can see who's truly dedicated and who you have to continue to stay on," Griffin said.

"We went twice a day. I wanted those guys to get a feel for who I was. It's best to just show them sometimes ... go through a workout with the Baylor team, see how we worked.

"I thought it was very productive as far as throwing and as far as being able to bond."

Griffin has done commercials for several companies including Adidas and Gatorade, but he does not necessarily buy into the fact that he is face of the franchise as a 22 year old who yet to take an NFL snap.

"Maybe they might not have accepted me as their leader yet, but they definitely see me as a guy that can help," Griffin said.

"[They] don't look at me as a celebrity. Yeah, I'm the quarterback, the guy that's going to lead them to victory, [but] I'm not RGIII to them. I'm just Robert. I don't think you can be approachable if they think you feel you're larger than life. You got to be real with them."

The four-year deal for a little over US$21 million (Dh71m) in fully guaranteed money that Griffin signed just over a week ago is real, too. So are the two new cars he was given by sponsors.

"It was definitely exciting to sign, not for the money, but the final sign that I've definitely made it to the NFL," Griffin said. "It's all business now. We're getting down to the season time.

"Everybody came back in great shape, ready to go and compete. Success is winning football games. How many, I have no idea. I don't set individual goals. It can't just be a one-man show and I'm not going to try and make it a one-man show."

Like Griffin, the Redskins, 11-21 during Mike Shanahan's first two seasons as coach and 21 seasons removed from their last Super Bowl, just want to win.

"This is a similar situation to the one I was in at Baylor," Griffin said.

"The programme had been starved for success for a long time and we ... got the programme back on top. It's a larger scale here in DC, but I'm not going to put unnecessary pressure on my shoulders when I know it's more of a team thing.

"I'm very proud to be a part of this franchise. I just to make sure I try to stay focused, continue to work and act like I'm that undrafted free agent who's trying to make the team."

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