“To leave that all behind and move on to something new, it was sad. There were a lot of tears.”
The next day, still overcome by emotion and “just having a moment,” as he would say later, Griffin jumped on his Twitter account and tweeted pointed questions to some of his Redskins teammates, with the hashtag #KnowYourWhy. “Why do you play the game? Why do you sacrifice?”
“I was kind of just feeling like, this part of my journey is over. It really hit me hard,” he told the Web site Rant Sports. “. . . I know my why. I sacrifice for my teammates. I want to make my family proud. So I know my why. I just want them to know theirs.”
From Waco, Griffin’s belongings traveled on a moving van up I-35 toward Dallas, and eventually made their way east along I-30, I-40 and I-81 towardNorthern Virginia, where they were unloaded into a rental home in a gated community not far from Redskins Park.
Griffin and Liddicoat found the house on their own — they plan being to rent this year, and buy in 2013 — with some direction from the Redskins. Griffin’s mother, who had helped her son move into his Waco apartment four years earlier, made a point of staying out of it this time, in deference to Liddicoat. “That’s a good thing for them to experience together,” she said. “It’s gearing towards their future.”
Theirs was a highly typical house-hunting experience for new transplants to the Washington area, characterized first and foremost by sticker shock.
“Robert’s a very frugal kid,” his father said. “He was shocked [by the prices]. He called me — they were looking at a place, following the [Redskins’ suggestions]. And that harsh reality — everyone who knows him knows he’s not going to be some guy spending wildly. But he had to make a choice, and he felt it was important to be close to the [Redskins] facility, so he did it.
“I want him to live at middle class. Now, the rent he’s gonna pay is not middle class, but his expenditures away from the rent will be. And that’s important to me. If I see something I don’t like, he’s gonna get it from me.”
Before the Waco apartment was packed up, before the final move east, before the start of training camp, Griffin’s parents visited him at Baylor one last time.
Griffin and his dad worked out together and threw the football around. And Griffin and his mom set aside some time for their own ritual, the one they had followed together since Robert was a boy. He sat in a chair, and she stood behind him and braided his hair, painstakingly twisting each lock just so, giving her son his trademark look.
Usually, this was their time to talk — “Mommy time,” she sometimes called it. But this time, Jacqueline Griffin worked in near-silence, and Robert Griffin III kept his eyes — and his focus — on something else the entire time: the Washington Redskins playbook that stayed open on his lap, thick with schemes and possibilities.