One glimpse of him was enough to ignite a swarm of fans who erupted in chants of “RG-THREE!”
Griffin told reporters he was “grateful” to be back, adding, “I think there’s a reason a lot of alumni stayed away and we don’t need to talk about that anymore.” But now it’s a new beginning. “
Griffin, the second overall pick in the 2012 draft, was named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl that season after throwing for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns and running for 815 yards and seven touchdowns. His play helped Washington grow from a 5-11 club last season to a 10-6 team that won the NFC East title for the first time in 13 years.
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“This team changed my life,” Griffin said. “…By drafting me, they set my family up for life, and everything that happened here made me a better person, a better player than when I played and a better man now. So I’m really thankful and grateful.
“The only ‘what if’ is what if I didn’t get hurt? And I know every fan will have this feeling for the rest of their lives. And honestly, I can’t blame them because I feel the same way.”
Griffin suffered a knee sprain in a Week 14 clash with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012. He returned to finish the game and, after missing a week, was back on the field in Week 16 against the Philadelphia Eagles. It was later reported that Griffin had not yet received medical clearance upon his return for the Week 14 game. Against the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the playoffs, he re-injured his knee and later underwent surgery to repair both his LCL and MCL.
“I wouldn’t take it back for anything,” Griffin said of his time in Washington. “Everyone asks me if I would prefer it [have] was designed elsewhere. No, I wouldn’t have done that, because I wouldn’t be here doing what I’m doing today and bearing this testimony this year. So, [I’m] really grateful for the city.”
Washington released Griffin in the spring of 2016. Later that offseason, he signed a two-year contract with the Cleveland Browns, but was cut after just one season.
“It wasn’t the greatest experience [playing for Washington and Cleveland]”,” he said. “But then I had the opportunity to go to Baltimore, and the Baltimore Ravens have an identity. I think that’s something the Washington Commanders missed out on for a very long time. Playing like a Raven means something. What does something like that mean to Washington?”
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Griffin said his time in Baltimore made him realize that not all teams are like Washington and Cleveland.
“And it starts from the top down,” he said. “…Now that we have new ownership and the way they operate their businesses, rebuild teams and connect with the community, I think everything is going to go downhill. … You can already see the investment in the stadium and the improvements in the matchday atmosphere. I think they understand what the city needs. And yes, they are fans, but they also know how to best run the organization.”
Griffin praised the work of Tim Hightower, the former Washington running back, who has been tasked with motivating the team’s alumni in recent years.
“This will be a more inclusive environment where all players can return and feel comfortable returning,” Griffin said. “I know I spoke to a lot of alumni and they just didn’t feel comfortable coming back to the games and supporting the team in any way because of everything that had happened. … The fact that [the new owners have] I was so great at offering the olive branch to bring everyone back. It just shows you how they’re going to embrace the community, how they’re going to embrace this team and what they know they need to do.”
There was one thing Griffin wasn’t too excited about: the team’s name. New owners Josh Harris and Mitch Rales said the team would not consider returning to its controversial former name, the Redskins. However, they did not rule out another possible rebranding.
“I mean, there are people who call them Commies, the Commodores,” Griffin said. “But at the end of the day, if they win, no one will care about the name. We just want a winner. The fans deserve this and I think Josh Harris will give it to them.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/09/10/robert-griffin-rgiii-fedex-field/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_homepage ‘It’s a new beginning’: Robert Griffin III returns to FedEx Field