There have been a lot of things written and said about Robert Griffin III.
Since his spectacular rookie season, most of it has not been positive.
None of it matters now.
Griffin has put whatever went wrong in Washington behind him and he has been given a clean slate in Cleveland by head coach Hue Jackson and the Browns.
“Everything that you go through in life, it’s a lesson,” Griffin said. “It’s up to you if you decide to use that lesson in a positive or a negative way.
“Since I got here, I’ve been real thankful for just the opportunity because they don’t come around that often and when you get one, you got to seize it.”
Jackson’s decision to sign Griffin in March was validated when he was named the team’s starter for this season Monday morning.
“It’s an honor to be one of 32 in this league,” Griffin said Monday morning. “You take that, you respect that and you continue to go out and work and try to get better.”
Griffin made quite the impression on Jackson during his visit before signing and was clearly Jackson’s guy from the moment he signed. Since then he has done nothing to dissuade the Browns’ first year head coach.
“I was honest about everything that I had been through and told him the lessons that I learned,” Griffin said. “So that’s all you can do. Learn from your mistakes, learn from what’s happened to you and then grow from that.”
The announcement naming him the Browns’ starter was a surprise to no one.
“It’s just been really enjoyable to come to a new city with a new coach on a new team and have an opportunity to just go out and play the game of football the way you love and do it with great people,” Griffin said.
Griffin received the vast majority of work with the first team offense during OTAs, 2 minicamps and of course training camp in front of last year’s starter Josh McCown.
“He’s earned it.” receiver Terrelle Pryor said.
Equally to no one’s surprise, McCown handled the news with class.
“Robert’s certainly playing at a high level right now too, so that’s exciting,” McCown. “As a competitor, you want to be on the field. You want to play. There’s no question about that. But at the same time, it’s so much bigger and it’s about a team and now that question is settled and we can go and move forward.”
Now that the starting hurdle has been successfully navigated, the real work begins for the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner.
“There’s no sense of relief,” Griffin said. “You come out every day for an opportunity, thankful to a coach that believes in me. I’m thankful to my teammates that they believe in me.”
Griffin did not see the field last year after losing out to Kirk Cousins following a concussion in the preseason. His rookie year that saw him lead Washington to the playoffs ended in a torn ACL.
Between injuries, reported conflicts with coaches and teammates and the negativity that surrounded him, it would’ve been easy to give up and think that would be it.
“I think when you’re going through tough times or going over hurdles in life, you always have to realize those who don’t give up are the ones that end up winning in the end,” Griffin said. “So as long as you don’t give up and you keep working, you’ll get another opportunity, but you have to live each day as if it’s your last.”