“I think they are ready to win. I think that’s why they are here,” Griffin said to the throng. “You guys bring the excitement.”
Then he waved his arm for more volume, but got a response he probably hadn’t expected. Instead of a Redskins yell, not the most productive use of lung capacity in recent years, the crowd instead bellowed, “RGIII” over and over.
That’s not who Griffin is. Calling his first FedEx audible, Griffin switched focus to the Redskins fight song.
“Hail to the Redskins, hail victory,” he sang. But he hadn’t learned the rest. You can bet he will, since it follows touchdowns. So he stuck his mic toward the crowd so they could belt it out, down to “fight for old D.C.”
Because of an imperfect sound system and a stilted Q&A format, Griffin’s remarks ended fairly quickly. For the only time, he seemed concerned that he couldn’t do more to please — handsprings, magic tricks or a comedy routine. Griffin lives to surpass astronomical expectations and, above all, not disappoint those who rely on him. As he walked off stage, back through a phalanx of Redskins cheerleaders, he gave a little “wow” shake of the head.
This is what he’s gotten himself into. Some fear it. It’s dessert to him.
In the crowd, Walter Wiggins, 59, of Bowie, who saw his first Redskins game with his father in Griffith Stadium, jumped up to smack the paw of a seven-foot-tall Lion mascot, there to advertise a kid’s movie. “We’re going to be lions this year with RGIII!” he yelled. “This makes me feel young.”
Nearby, Tony Sawyers, and his 11-year-old son Trevon, both Cowboys fans, paid their respect to Griffin, nonetheless: “Whether I’m a Redskins fan or not, he’s such a good character guy that my son needs to see him.”
The scene of RGIII meeting his public may be the image of the day, but it is not the main insight. Everybody notes that Griffin says all the right things. That implies coaching. He says the all right things because he feels all the right things. That’s why the proper phrases, the right nuances that deflect unearned praise, exude confidence and promote team feeling spring from his mouth as he thinks and creates on his feet. That’s why Cowboy fathers think their ’Poke sons need to see him.
“You can never walk up to a 30-year-old man when you are 22 and tell him what to do. I have to earn his respect,” said Griffin of his role as instant team leader. “I’m here to work. It’s not about show . . .