Thursday morning, as Redskins training camp opened, Robert Griffin III went to the podium and met with members of the media for the first time this month.
Friday afternoon — midway through the Redskins’ second day of training camp — Griffin stopped in the middle of a practice field at the team’s Richmond facility and met with members of the media for the second time this month.
For most players on the team, chatting with the media two days in a row would not be worthy of mention. But for Griffin, this marked a change from the past.
In his first two seasons in the NFL — seasons marked by intense interest and a massive media spotlight — Griffin held weekly news conferences, and then didn’t talk to members of the media for the remainder of the week. That’s how many big-name quarterbacks handle their media responsibilities — the NFL only requires players to talk one day a week — and it was a predictable approach for a Heisman winner who then became the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year.
And yet you could argue that by the end of his second year in the NFL, this policy was no longer helping Griffin. For much of the 2013 season — as every quote coming out of Redskins Park was parsed for hidden meaning — Griffin’s weekly news conferences took on an outsized importance, with entirely too much anticipation, leading to a weekly avalanche of tweets and pull-quotes and headlines.
The news conferences often seemed to last forever, as media members sought Griffin’s comment on every potential trouble spot. And the build-up and attention seemed to serve as a signifier that he was somehow different from his teammates, even though loads of NFL quarterbacks behave exactly the same way.
Well, Griffin has been following a different policy this year, one that actually began during offseason workouts, although the wider world (including me) never noticed this at the time.
It’s not news-conference-or-nothing this year, essentially. As a result, Griffin’s weekly news conferences might wind up being shorter, but he will be available to members of the media at other times during the week. He will act more like a regular old Redskins player, in other words.
And so maybe the words won’t be parsed quite as closely, and his time behind the podium won’t be scrutinized with quite as much vigor and anticipation, and the weekly sense of drama and wonderment will be ratcheted down a level or two. These are all good things.
Griffin, by the way, met again with media members on Sunday and on Monday. You probably didn’t even hear about it. That’s a good thing, too.