“He doesn’t like negative publicity,” Jay Gruden said of Robert Griffin III during the offseason. “He doesn’t like negative plays to happen. He wants everything to be right. He wants everybody to love Robert, and that’s not going to be the case at the quarterback position.”
Griffin, of course, said this week that he’s moving beyond that, that he is no longer concerned with such matters.
“I’ve learned not everybody is going to like you,” he said on Wednesday, via the Insider. “You want to continue to grow, be a better husband, be a better father someday, and be a better football player. So, those things come with the territory, and trust me, I’m not worried about anybody liking me.”
Is this true? Well, reporters also put the question to Gruden. Specifically, former Washington Post and current ESPN.com staffer John Keim.
“Jay, in the offseason you talked about how with Robert, that he has to kind of get past the not everybody’s going to like him stage,” Keim began. “Do you feel he’s worried less about what people think? Have you seen growth in that area?”
“I think so, I think so,” Gruden said. “He came out of Baylor as a Heisman Trophy (winner), everybody loved him. And he had a great year his rookie year, was rookie of the year, and did some great things. And then obviously, as quarterbacks do go through at some point in their career, they hit the rocky spot. And he hit the rocky spot last year and kind of realized that people will turn on him. Writers included.”
Here Gruden paused and appeared to look at a specific writer, whom I won’t name.
Okay, it was Jason Reid.
Everyone in the room laughed. Gruden also seemed to enjoy the moment. This was fun, not tense. And also hilarious.
“And that’s just the nature of the business,” Gruden continued. “It’s just the nature of the business. And I understand that as a coach, you have to understand that as a player and you have to take the good with the bad. And the most important thing I tell the quarterback is you got to be mentally tough and you got to handle adversity, and I think he’s done a great job of that. It’s a tough pill for him to swallow, but I think he’s swallowed it, and he’s moved forward and trying to do the best he can.”
“What happens as a result?” Keim asked. “When a quarterback or a player gets past that point, what can happen as a result?”
“Well I think he just stays focused on his job and his job only, and [is] not worried about reading papers and articles and seeing ESPN or whatever it is,” Gruden said. “He just wants to worry about his job, making himself better, a better player. Worried about his progressions, his pass-protection responsibilities, his run game responsibilities. And just worry about playing the position and doing right in his family life and not worried about anything else in the outside world.”
That last quote, I believe, I agree with 100 percent.