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Posted at 04:04 PM ET, 04/28/2012

Robert Griffin III understands the pressure he’s under to win

Before Robert Griffin III addressed the thousands of Redskins fans who came to FedEx Field for the team’s draft day celebration Saturday, the new Washington quarterback was introduced to the local media at a news conference. Here are the highlights of his Q&A session with reporters …

“I just want to say it feels good to be a part of the Redskins,” Griffin said in his opening statement. “I take pride in the fact that I’ll have a chance to wear the burgundy and gold. Hail to Redskins. Hail to victory. I would sing it for you, but I think I’ll save that for the fans. I’m proud to be here. There’s not a lot of times you get a chance to have this opportunity, so I’ll make the most of it.”

On the pressure of the anticipation surrounding him: “I’ve gotten an impression of that. … I kind of understand the anticipation and the excitement. You’ve just got to realize that it’s about more than one person. A quarterback always gets all the attention. He also gets all the criticism. So it’s not necessarily how you take the praise and the attention; it’s how you can deal with the criticism that I’ll get. I know this is a business. I have to be a professional, and I plan on doing my job at a high level.”

“A lot of people can look at this as a bad side, but it’s all a part of the gig,” he added. “You don’t dream of these types of situations when you’re a kid. You just think you can play professional sports and be done. There’s a lot more that goes into it. You have to wrap your mind around it – or be able to – and I think I’m trying to do a good job of that.”

“It can be difficult. The one thing people have said is it’s only going to get worse. But if it gets worse, that means I’m doing my job. … I plan on being successful, and I hope the Redskins, the teammates that I now have will join me in that battle. And hopefully the spotlight and all the cameras and all the flashes will get worse for everybody, because that means we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, and that’s win football games.”

On what he knows about the history of the Redskins organization: “Everyone thinks I was a Cowboys fan growing up. I actually wasn’t. I won’t name the team that I was a fan of. But I definitely heard about the Redskins, Philadelphia and the Giants. They’re all in the same division. So I don’t know the [Redskins] history like the back of my hand, but I’ve definitely seen the struggles the team has gone through, especially when it comes to quarterbacks. They drafted me to try to be that solution to that problem, and I plan on being the solution.”

On whether he expects to be the starting quarterback at the start of the 2012 season: “I try not to expect anything in life or assume anything, so I’ll work towards being the starting quarterback on Day One.”

On meeting President Obama: “Meeting the President was an honor. It’s hard to compare everything from the Heisman to the draft to meeting President Obama. But he’s as advertised, a really cool, down-to-earth person. We’re going to try to set up a basketball game after the season. He told me he wouldn’t play against me, but he’ll definitely play on my team.”

On his ability to slide, rather than absorb a tackle: “When it comes to sliding, I’m not the best slider, not that I don’t want to slide. In baseball I never slid because I felt like I could get to the base fast enough to where I didn’t have to. I have been working on that over the last couple years, and I have gotten better. I do know when to slide and when to keep running, just in case anyone was wondering.”

On the Redskins’ long-standing quarterback woes: “I try not to take the weight of the past 20 years on my shoulders. I realize that there’s other guys on this team that can help us be successful. I don’t have to do everything.”

On how he hopes to be perceived by his older teammates: “I just hope that they know that I’m here to work. It’s not all about show. You can never walk up to a 30-year-old man when you’re 22 and tell him what to do. You have to earn his respect. So I just want them to know that I’m here to work and help the team win.”

After Griffin spoke with the media for about 20 minutes, he trotted onto the field in a pinstriped suit, hopped onto a dais and briefly addressed the crowd at FedEx Field. He concluded by leading the fans in singing “Hail To The Redskins.” He seemed to know all the words, though his voice was drowned out by the audience around him.

By  |  04:04 PM ET, 04/28/2012

 
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