INDIANAPOLIS — As Robert Griffin III prepares to speak with the “NFL.com Live” crew, he’s suddenly approached by an unexpected visitor.
It’s Cam Newton, the Panthers QB who set NFL records at the position during his rookie season. Newton is touring Radio Row for the second consecutive day, and college’s past two Heisman Trophy winners share a handshake and brief conversation before Griffin goes on air.
Minutes later, I ask if RG3 (or it is The Prosecutor?) Newton provides him something of a road map to succeed at the next level.
“Not really. I think the only reason is because I’m so relatively close in age to him,” said Griffin, who’s 21, one year younger than Newton. “There are guys like Donovan McNabb, John Elway, Randall Cunningham, Steve Young. All these guys that come in and can run a little bit, win football games and be successful. That’s who you model your game after.”
After leading Baylor to its first bowl win in 20 years, Griffin made the difficult decision to leave the school before his senior year. How difficult was that?
“I’d already graduated (and) my gut feeling was that it was time to go after the (Alamo) Bowl game because I broke down in the locker room,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that was what I was feeling. … (Baylor coach Art) Briles told me if I left, he’d be happy (and) if I came back, he’d be happy. He just couldn’t be selfish.”
Griffin has it very much together, possessing a level of maturity that seems well beyond his 21 years. His physical abilities will be endlessly dissected from now until the April draft, but reports on his strong family background and character undoubtedly will help his stock.
– Dan Hanzus