Reporting Daryl Ruiter
BEREA (92.3 The Fan) - Quarterback Robert Griffin III could’ve been a Cleveland Brown.
Tuesday, Griffin returned to the Browns’ training facility but not to work.
This time to entertain nearly 150 kids from Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown along with the rest of the NFC rookies in the PLAY 60 Youth Football Clinic as part of the NFL’s four-day rookie symposium.
Prior to the trade between Washington and St. Louis, he thought it would happen.
“Once I declared for the draft, Cleveland was the place I thought I would be,” Griffin said Tuesday. “Just because they had the most firepower when it came to draft picks and tradeability. It didn’t turn out that way. I have no idea why it didn’t, but that’s the end result.”
By all accounts, the Browns sweetened offer to St. Louis was too little too late.
The Redskins beat Cleveland to the punch.
They landed the second pick in the draft and the right to draft Griffin by giving up their first round picks for the 2013 and 2014 drafts in addition to their 2012 pick.
After missing out on Griffin, the Browns went to plan B which was to trade up to No. 3 and secure Trent Richardson then take Brandon Weeden at No. 22.
That is after Griffin’s favorite target at Baylor, Kendall Wright went off the board at No. 20 to Tennessee.
In Griffin’s eyes, Weeden wasn’t a bad move for the Browns at all.
“I played against him in the Big 12 and I got to train with him (Weeden) at API in Arizona during the combine process,” Griffin said. “I got to know him a little bit. He’s a great guy. On the field speaks for itself. Great arm, seems like a great leader. Everyone wants to question his age, but as long as you’re playing well right now, it doesn’t really matter what your age is.”
Unlike Weeden, who is “competing” with Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace for the starting job this fall with the Browns, Griffin has already been named the Redskins starter.
“I think that was the expectation when I was drafted and it’s big of coach Shanahan to do that seeing that I’m a rookie,” Griffin said. “If he hadn’t announced that I’d still work the same way. It’s a big deal but it’s not a big deal because that’s what I expect to do. That’s what the team expects me to be.
“They expect me to be the guy.”
Griffin has no problems handling the hype or expectations from fans or the Redskins that come with being the No. 2 overall pick because he has the same for himself.
“The one thing I’ve always said about my career is that no one should have higher expectations of you than yourself,” Griffin said. “Although everyone has really high expectations for myself, I expect greatness out of myself and I’m going to make sure I work to get to that point. I know I’m not where I want to be today, but hopefully each and every day I can gain a little bit more.”
Griffin and the Redskins will visit the Browns on Dec. 16 but he hasn’t circled or highlighted the game on the schedule.
“I guess you could say that I circle every game,” Griffin said. “It’s the old cliche ‘You take it one game at a time,’ but if you truly believe it and don’t just say it to say it, it really is that way. It’s one game at a time. I don’t try to put circles around any games because they’re all important and all matter.”
This week, Griffin and the rest of the NFC’s rookies are participating in the NFL’s rookie symposium which has been divided into two sessions – one for each conference.
Griffin and the other NFC rookies have heard from players like Michael Vick and Adam “Pacman” Jones about their off-the-field problems.
Griffin made it a point to listen intently to what they both had to say.
“It’d be stupid to walk into those meetings and to just blow it off,” Griffin said. “To say ‘I’m not that guy,’ (isn’t smart) because those guys up on stage said the very same thing when they heard another guy from the past come and talk to them.
“If you really think I’m not that guy at least you listened to them and you can only learn from your mistakes and other peoples mistakes.”
Unfortunately but ironically Griffin is dealing with his own off the field situation.
Richard Khamir Hurd, 25, was arraigned Monday in federal court in Waco, Texas, for allegedly threatening to release “derogatory information” about Griffin unless he was paid a “substantial sum.”
“It’s something I knew was coming,” Griffin said. “When you hear those guys (former NFL players) talk about being careful and keep your circle real small — all those things come back to you when you hear about stuff like this. You’ve got to be careful with who you trust.”
Hurd played basketball at Baylor as a walk-on, from the 2004-05 season through the 2007-08 season, after a high school career at Heritage Christian Academy in Cleveland north of Houston, according to Baylor sports information.
“There’s a fine line between guarding yourself and being guarded,” he said. “I think I do a pretty good job of guarding myself, even with this situation. It’s just something unfortunate that happened so I think guys can learn. It’s just something that everyone can learn from and just move on.”
On the field, Griffin has been compared to Vick – a comparison he doesn’t mind.
“As long as you are getting compared to people like Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, it doesn’t really matter,” Griffin said. “You take it, you accept it and you play the way you play.”
Griffin, who sounded wise beyond his years, took time to pass on some of his own advice to the youngsters that he spent the morning teaching football skills to regarding their parents and teachers.
“They matter,” Griffin said. “Those are the people that can get you into good situations and they can also get you out of bad situations. So no matter what anybody says about you, they’ll stick up for you because they truly believe in you.
“Everybody matters, that’s the words of wisdom.”
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)