The last time the Olympic Games were on TV, Robert Griffin III was considered the future of the NFL QB position.
Indeed RGIII is a lesson on how living legends can become forgotten pages in yesterday’s history books. However, with his health in full effect, he's displaying flashes of the skills that once made him the face of NFL football and got broadcasters fired who dare speak his name with anything other than reverence.
RGIII is getting another shot to be the man with the newly-constructed Cleveland Browns.
This week, the Browns named him their starting quarterback based on his solid showing in training camp and the fact that their cupboard is more than bare when it comes to viable leadership behind center
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With the hiring of Hue Jackson, a former Raiders head coach and proven coordinator, Cleveland brass hopes that they FINALLY got this head coach situation locked down. Committing to RGIII was the next move that proved they were serious about being contenders sooner rather than later.
It’s really a match made in heaven. After the experiences he's had with past coaching staffs who were never satisified with his style, why wouldn't RGIII go to an African-American HC with a great reputation with the players? A guy who could see past the bs and find value in him as a man and football player.
"We are excited about Robert joining the Cleveland Browns,” Jackson said when the Browns signed Griffin to a two-year contract back in March. “He brings starting experience to our team and organization. He's a young, athletic, talented passer and he's really just starting out in this league. Just like every player on our team, Robert will have to earn every opportunity he gets. He will compete with the rest of the quarterbacks on our roster and he helps improve our QB room, which was one of my goals upon taking the job. It's a special room and we want to put special people and players in that room.”
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This could be the last stop on RGIII’s soul train. He has a chance to revive his career and his reputation as a disgruntled, washed up diva with a franchise that has been one of the NFL’s cursed and worst for decades.
In 2012, the No. 2 overall draft pick of the Washington Redskins stormed the scene with his spread option skills and became a living legend. Midway through his rookie season, he was anointed as the greatest piece of QB weaponry in NFL history. A cross between Michael Vick, Steve Young and Marcus Allen.
Griffin entered the NFL as one of a class of golden armed QBs, including No. 1 pick Andrew Luck and third-round gem Russell Wilson, who were expected to dominate the league for years to come.
While Wilson and Luck have certainly ascended to those levels, injuries, setbacks and the harsh and fleeting realities of celebrity life have put a kink in RGIII’s career. Those Washington days seem like centuries ago.
You’ve never seen QB stock drop quicker than RGIII's. He became known as a malcontent as he sat and watched Kirk Cousins take his job and become the Darling of D.C.
The Browns, however, haven’t had a 16-game starter at quarterback since Tim Couch in 2001. Injury risks aside -- Griffin never has started a full 16 games in four pro seasons. He’s only started a total of 20 games the past three. A healthy and motivated RGIII could be the start-up piece that this struggling franchise needs.
Stability for a franchise begins with the HC and the QB. Jackson and Griffin’s career paths have a lot in common. RGIII was the hot shot QB with the Redskins, ushering in the age of dual-option QBs led by African-American talents with rifle arms and lethal legs.
His story hasn’t gone as we all predicted.
Jackson was a highly-touted young African-American, first-time head coach when he took over a legendary and dysfunctional Raiders franchise in 2011. With the spotlight constantly on one of football’s few African-American head honchos, Jackson was 8-8 in his first season and then unceremoniously fired.
These guys have both had wicked-sour tastes in their mouths for some time now. They both seek the glory that their track record, talents and ego demand. Together, in Cleveland, maybe they can help each other find what they’ve been longing for -- redemption, respect and sustained success.