The next day, at Baylor’s pro day, would be the first time Griffin, the Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, would throw passes in front of NFL personnel before the April 25 draft, for which the Redskins held the No. 2 overall pick.
At first, no one at the table seemed to notice as Griffin — trying to be casual, as if he was merely too warm — stood and began to remove his green Adidas hoodie. But then the others caught a glimpse of what he was wearing underneath: a burgundy, official NFL-issue T-shirt, with a large Redskins logo on the front.
The bold statement, which Griffin later acknowledged was “premeditated,” sent the room into spasms of laughter and applause. The Redskins’ brass seemed shocked, considering the draft was still five weeks away, the 22-year-old Griffin had yet to throw for them and there was still some uncertainty over what the Indianapolis Colts would do with the No. 1 overall pick. But they seemed blown away by the gesture. His mission accomplished, Griffin flashed his now-famous, toothy smile and sat back down.
“What if you had gotten the days mixed up,” Snyder, with a smile, leaned over and asked Griffin, “and worn a Colts shirt by mistake?”
Griffin laughed, he later recalled, but he was dead serious about his message: I want to be a Redskin.
“I wanted to show them where my mind was, where my heart was,” he said later. “I knew my pro day was going to go extremely well, [but] I didn’t want to make [the Colts] want me. I wasn’t going to play that game.”
The process of making Griffin a Redskin began on March 10, when the team traded four high-round draft picks to the St. Louis Rams to move up to the No. 2 spot in the draft, and became official Wednesday morning, when he signed his name to a four-year, $21.1 million contract in an office at Redskins Park in Ashburn, a week before the opening of training camp.
But that night in Waco, some four months ago, was when Griffin became a Redskin at heart. What followed — a dazzling performance at Baylor’s pro day, the draft itself and the signing of his contract — seemed like mere formalities.
In the weeks since, Griffin has lived through a head-spinning, life-altering transition — from Texas to Washington, from amateur to pro, from Baylor’s spread offense to the Redskins’ more complex West Coast system, from regional hero to national pitchman, from college student to multimillionaire, from the face of a small private university to that of the third-most valuable franchise in U.S. professional sports.