RGIII collects autographs from special guests

Robert Griffin III had two young cancer survivors sign his cleats. (Mike Jones/The Washington Post)

Robert Griffin III had two young cancer survivors sign his cleats. (Mike Jones/The Washington Post)

RICHMOND – It’s no secret that Robert Griffin III relishes the opportunity to make an impact on his fans, particularly those of a younger age and with special needs.

He enjoys seeing their faces light up as he grants their autograph requests and chats with them for a couple of minutes. Griffin often says, “They think they’re being blessed, but they’re really blessing us, more so.”

With that in mind, Griffin in the last two days has decided to flip the script on fans in this situation, and when introduced, before they can ask for his autograph he asks for theirs.

Griffin on Saturday had two young cancer survivors, Evan Washo and Vincent Silver Jr., sign his cleats. On Sunday, he welcomed a Make-a-Wish teen, Jamia Johnson, as his guest of honor, and after practice, he had her sign his practice jersey.

Griffin said the idea just came to him. And so, the last two days, he has made the requests.

“I asked her to sign my jersey because I had gotten the cancer survivors yesterday to sign my cleats,” Griffin explained on Sunday. “I wanted to give her something special and have something to carry along with me on this journey. When I was growing up, I always wanted to meet my childhood – not idols – but guys I looked up to, role models. If I had met Michael Jordan and he asked for my autograph, I would’ve been shocked. … I think it means something to them, and if I’m their first autograph, then it’s an honor to me.”

Griffin also played catch with the 18-year-old Johnson, a native of Lusby, Md., who was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease in 2010, and had to have a kidney transplant in 2013. The two also had a foot race, which Griffin said he lost.

“She’s amazing. She wanted to come out, meet the team. She told me I was her favorite player,” Griffin said. “It’s crazy in those situations, they think they’re being blessed, but they’re really blessing us, more so. All the guys did a great job of going over and talking to her. … It’s great to be able to have an impact like that.”

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