There is one thing we know about Griffin that has genuine substance, one fact that is not just a suggestive projection. We know his old man. In fact we know more about Griffin’s father, Robert Griffin Jr., than we know about the son. We know the elder Griffin is a man of drive who worked his way from enlistee to sergeant in the U.S. Army and served in the Gulf War, and though he’s retired he wears his haircut high and tight and favors plain brown suits. We know he similarly drives his son to succeed, determined to keep his eyes in front and his head straight.
We know the elder Griffin doesn’t intend to see the kid hijacked by bright lights, nor by the jingle of coins, and that he viewed the whole Radio City Music Hall draft extravaganza with a suspicious eye, as if to say, “How ya’ gonna keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen Paree?”
We know that on the night before the draft, when RGIII stayed out on the town until midnight, the elder Griffin was not pleased, though the kid protested that he never drank a thing.
“I was a little vexed,” the father said. He told his son, “That cannot be part of your life.”
We know, too, that the elder Griffin is not an easy man to satisfy. Every time his son thinks he’s about to finish a race, break the tape, the elder Griffin moves it farther back.
“He’s learning, and he’s moving,” he said. “This is just one more step, another thing he has to mature through. We taught him to master. When we taught him a thing, we taught him to master it.”
We know that nothing is sure when it comes to rookie quarterbacks in the NFL, that watching them is like watching an untested booster rocket. Stage 1 is the NFL draft, and Stage 2 is this weekend’s rookie minicamp. Will the payload make it into space, or will it explode and trail to the ground? We can only guess, and hope. But we know that if the son listens to the father, if he continues to follow his direction and the sound of his voice, he has a chance to be all right.
“People say being drafted can change who you are,” RGIII said. “But I think it’s the lifestyle that gets guys. It’s how smart you can be within everything that’s going on.”