RG3 Was Going To Pursue The 2020 Olympics For Track But Then God Gave Him A Call
Washington Post - Just a few years later, Griffin had all but vanished from the realm of NFL relevancy. Injuries and a building tension between Griffin and Washington set up an ugly end, and after an injury-shortened season in Cleveland, he was out of the league.
At the mic, Griffin tried to distance himself from what happened down the Beltway while facing questions about how he would dig himself out of the rubble of once-great expectations. Ravens Coach John Harbaugh told reporters Griffin’s absence from the game for a year didn’t worry him, that it “wasn’t a very hard” call to sign him and General Manager Ozzie Newsome had decided “pretty quickly.”
Griffin, 28, answered with a similar earnestness. He compared being away from football to “someone taking your girl, it gives you an appreciation,” joked about staying in shape by throwing footballs at palm trees, and asserted he was faster than rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, another speedy Heisman winner who was drafted No. 32 overall in April as the heir apparent to starting quarterback Joe Flacco.
In discussing that year away, Griffin never mentioned how much he prepared for life after football — or how the 2020 Olympic Games had come to mind.
Last winter, Griffin cold-called a training facility he’d heard of near home and, within a week, he walked into the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The facility appealed to Griffin because it had football and a track-and-field program, helmed by famous coach Brooks Johnson, who also trained Sadeiko. At Baylor, Griffin ran the 400-meter hurdles all the way to the 2008 Olympic Trials semifinals but left track — even though “at heart, I’m a track guy” — to focus on football. He started to consider a comeback.
For about 10 weeks, Griffin arrived at the facility four days per week at 8:30 a.m. and, over the next five hours, stretched, lifted weights, honed footwork and threw to receivers. Whenever workouts called for speed, he sidled over to Johnson.
But the track group watched Griffin chip away at his rusty technique. At first, his body launched wide and splayed over the hurdles, but it quickly became tighter. Griffin is 6-foot-2, but Gatlin said football’s emphasis on low centers of gravity conditioned Griffin to run as if he were 5-foot-2. His short strides generated less power. Slowly, Griffin ran straighter, lengthening his legs. The knee injury that hampered his football career seemed to have no effect. Within a year, Gatlin and Johnson said, Griffin would have seriously contended for a spot at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“He is an Olympic-level talent,” Johnson said. “It didn’t take a lot to get him technically sound.”
Then Baltimore called.
It was late March, at the beginning of free agency, and Griffin considered it “a message from God” and that “things don’t just happen by accident.” He inked a one-year, $1.1 million deal. In the facility, during stretches and cool-downs, Griffin started bringing index cards made from the Ravens playbook. While they worked out together, Sadeiko quizzed him on the team’s formations and he listed off the personnel.
“I know what God’s called me to do,” Griffin said. “He’s called me to play football at a high level, inspire men, lead men. That’s why I didn’t have any doubt in what I was doing.”
Actually a really awesome article in the Washington Post about RG3. Dude loves football. It sucks that the terrible knee injury happened to him, it sucks how that whole “All in for week 1″ thing happened, sucks how much pressure he put on himself, how his father devised all these PR plans for him that were debacles, the Shanahan stuff, all of it. Didn’t help that he was woefully unprepared for the pressure of the NFL and he acted like a child on social media during it. He learned on the fly, and it didn’t usually go how he wanted. But he never stopped training. Even when Justin Gatlin thought RG3 could make the 2020 Olympic team, RG3 still had his heart in football. Pretty awesome.
I’ve long been an RG3 supporter, and will continue to. Teams trot out the worst of the worst 3rd string quarterbacks, and all the while RG3 was sitting at home. Now he has a chance to work his way back with the Ravens. A year wiser, a year stronger, a year more mature. Obviously he is behind Flacco and Lamar Jackson on the depth chart, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work somewhere else if he shows enough in the preseason or a team needs an experienced QB to come in and start due to the injury bug.
What’s really awesome is the Ravens are playing the Bears in the HOF game tomorrow. We get to see Robert for the first time in a long time in a little over 24 hours. Cannot wait. Hope he absolutely crushes it and we get a real Comeback SZN on our hands.