Robert Griffin III, or “RG Three,” as he is affectionately known, was once quite popular. You’d hear his name on the news all the time. Everyone loved his smile and those curious numerals on his jersey. It was even fun to say “Are-Gee-Three.” There would be countless hours of debate trying to decide if he was better than Andrew Luck or Russel Wilson. I think we’ve found our answer.
These days, RGIII has all but disappeared from the news cycles. Last we heard, he was cut from the Cleveland Browns and looking for a better fit for his skills. We haven’t heard much about those prospects. What’s going on with him? Will he ever play football again?
A Noteworthy Start
Griffin was once at the top of his game. He won the coveted Heisman Trophy during the 2011 season, becoming the first athlete from Baylor University to do so. His team went on to win the Alamo Bowl. Griffin’s NFL draft prospects were high. He ended up being drafted second overall by the Washington Redskins, where he immediately became the starting quarterback for this ailing team.
Griffin was the first starting NFL quarterback to be born in the 1990s. He was also the first major-league athlete to display Roman numerals on his jersey.“Griffin III” was what he had on his back. This curiosity resulted in increased jersey sales for the Washington Redskins and generated a public buzz about this new QB.
RGIII was also the first rookie quarterback to be named NFL’s Offensive Player of the Week. He was also later named NFL Rookie of the Week, as well as NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month. These accolades would continue throughout the season, ending with Griffin being named Rookie of the Year. Not a bad start. So then what happened?
Suppressed by Injuries
The fateful day happened in week 14 as Griffin was injured when he was struck in the knee during a tackle. He left the game with a sprain and was replaced by Kirk Cousins, who went on to win the game in overtime. Instead of giving Griffin time for his knee to heal properly, coaches put him in to start against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wildcard playoffs.
The Redskins not only lost that game, but Griffin suffered a devastating injury to his knee which was painful to watch in replays. Both his ACL and LCL were torn and had to be surgically repaired. The season was over for Washington, so Griffin finally had time to properly heal. Even after his poor play in the playoff game, Griffin won the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award and was also named to the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, he couldn’t participate due to his injuries.
Released and Without a Team
RGIII never looked the same. He returned the following seasons, but was plagued by injuries. In 2015, after suffering a concussion, Griffin was benched and replaced by Kirk Cousins. He was subsequently released by the Redskins and picked up by Cleveland, a quarterback graveyard. He wouldn’t last a game, suffering a shoulder injury in the season-opening loss. He played five games with the Browns, and the team released him in March 2017.
Very little information surfaced about RGIII this year. He hadn’t tried out for any NFL teams, and few reached out to him. He apparently had one visit scheduled, but canceled it. His personal life may have been an explanation for that. He was engaged in May and became a father in early July.
Looking for a New Home
An anonymous source reported Griffin was interested in playing for the New York Jets. Griffin had visited the Jets before signing with the Cleveland Browns. The Jets would be the best place for Griffin to land a starting position, as they have a need in the quarterback spot. Currently, they have Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. Hackenberg is unpopular with Jets fans and hasn’t been doing well. Petty was Griffin’s backup at Baylor, and joined the Jets in 2015 as the 103rd pick in the NFL Draft.
ESPN reports RGIII is going to work out with the former San Diego Chargers, who now call Los Angeles home. This is Griffin’s first free-agent visit of the season. The Chargers have veteran Phillip Rivers as their starting QB, but RGIII could be a formidable backup.
The Baltimore Ravens have been looking for another quarterback since their highly paid starter, Joe Flacco, will be out three to six weeks with a back injury. The Ravens have several backups, but are looking for a higher-caliber QB in hopes of a strong start before Flacco returns.
Ravens owner Steve Biscotti held a rally for season ticket holders and mentioned Griffin is being considered for the job. When asked specifically about Griffin joining the team, Biscotti said enigmatically, “We’re keeping our door open.” RG3 will work out with the team and see if there is mutual interest and a match.
However, contradicting that is ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, who reports adding Griffin is “no longer in play” and that the Ravens are not interested in having Griffin join them.
Griffin isn’t saying much, only sending out messages over Twitter which include vague inspirational sayings about his “worth” and not compromising.
So it remains to be seen what uniform RGII will be wearing next season, if any. A once-rising star has all but disappeared. Perhaps we will see Robert Griffin III behind a microphone broadcasting, instead of inside a helmet playing. As charming and talented as he is, it would be a shame to see his once-promising career end so sadly.