The story of Robert Griffin III

April, 19, 2012
4/19/12
11:56
AM ET
ESPN The Magazine's draft preview has Robert Griffin III on the cover. Following this morning's report from Adam Schefter that the Colts have informed Andrew Luck that they'll be taking him with the No. 1 pick, Washington Redskins fans can be more certain than ever that Griffin will be their next quarterback. So, Redskins fans, I direct you to Tom Friend's magazine feature on the life story of Griffin, which details the ways in which he was influenced by Robert Griffin I and Robert Griffin II, as well as how surprised the latter was when his son walked onto a football field wearing "Griffin III" on the back of his Baylor jersey:
From his seat in the stadium that day, Robert Griffin II was stunned. No one had ever called his son "Robert Griffin the third," and he wasn't sure he was in favor of it. He'd named him Robert at his father's request and regretted it for years. He didn't want his son to feel the burden he had felt, of living up to his father's name. But the moment Robby showed up for that first game proudly wearing his Roman numeral, Robert Jr. realized his son -- soon to be known as RG3 -- had become his own man.

He thought about Robby's life. At 2, he was living in Japan, and at 6, he was living in a slum. At 9, Robby was singing solos in church, and at 11, his principal thought he'd someday be U.S. president. He had finished high school in three and a half years. He irreverently wore SpongeBob socks and composed songs. His goal in life was to be a lawyer. So the III on his back wasn't a burden at all; it was the symbol of one family's journey. "My dad always promised me he'd give me more than he ever had," Robby says. "The least I could do was pay him back, pay my great-grandmother back, pay my grandfather back."

Tom's story is excellent, and it's worth a read even if you're not a Redskins fan but you happen to be a sports fan who likes to learn as much as they can about the people playing on their televisions. It details the ways in which Griffin was shaped by his parents' military service, the origin of his quirky sock collection and why he was working out at a hotel gym at 2 a.m. after accepting the Heisman Trophy in December.

Griffin's name will be the second one called a week from tonight at Radio City Music Hall, and he'll put a Redskins cap on and flash that enormous smile. His progress during the offseason and training camp will be fodder for regular updates on TV, in the newspapers and on the Web. He is tasked with resurrecting a Redskins franchise that has been waiting for him for nearly his entire life. He's big news, and if you want to know more about him, Tom and the Mag have you covered.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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