In the middle of a grassy, nondescript three-acre lot, the Griffin home is a modest one. Most of the neighbors have no idea, in fact, who was raised here. The only real clues inside are the plaques that hang in the entryway and the Heisman trophy in the curio cabinet behind the couch.
Robert Griffin III’s life will change this week. The talented quarterback is expected to be the No. 2 pick in the National Football League draft on Thursday, and he appears bound for Washington, where the Redskins have spent the past two decades searching for a franchise quarterback. He’ll be charged immediately with reviving an organization mired in futility and will carry with him the hopes and expectations of its legions of fans.
It’s a task that doesn’t seem to unnerve Griffin. His goals are so numerous. He plans to soon finish his master’s degree in communications from Baylor University. Maybe run track in the Summer Olympics someday. Go to law school, too. Oh, and he wants to learn the guitar. And he hopes to write more poetry.
“I’m a hopeless romantic,” he said, “so anything I write about is love or the sky. I do have a weird fascination with the sky. It’s pretty cool. Whenever you’re flying and you just look at the clouds — that’s pretty sweet. Those are the types of things I write about. I don’t write about heartbreak and things of that nature.”
Those things barely exist in his world. Griffin’s existence is one where broken plays result in highlight-reel touchdowns. His upbringing was always pointed toward a goal — almost from the moment he was born.
His family was filled with women. His aunts had girls and his parents, Jacqueline and Robert Griffin Jr., an Army couple stationed at the time in Okinawa, Japan, already had two daughters. Everyone was convinced another girl was on the way.
“I secretly prayed that I’d have a boy,” Jacqueline said. “I’m traditional: I wanted to give my husband a son.”
When the doctor announced a boy, Robert Jr. was elated. Only for a second would he let his new prize out of his sight. “He went to a pay phone and called everybody in the United States,” Jacqueline said.
Twenty-two years later, there’s no shortage of superlatives used to describe Robert Griffin III, a player heralded into the NFL by magazine covers, endorsement deals and hype that matches his wide smile and big personality. The portrait painted by friends, family, teammates and coaches is of a young man blessed with athletic talent and willing to eschew Friday nights with friends in order to maximize it. His confidence is mistaken for cockiness by some, who worry how that self-assurance might play inside the locker room and how it will be received outside it. But others insist Griffin’s belief in his own ability is among his best attributes.