CULVER CITY, Calif. -- A large segment of society knows Brian Orakpo not as a star linebacker for the Washington Redskins but as the guy who ate alone at the pancake social after upsetting his caveman friend during a Scrabble game.
Such was the power of the Geico commercial in which Orakpo starred last year. It became one of those ubiquitous ads that seemed like it was on a constant loop in living rooms across America.
"It got to the point where I'd be eating, it'd come on and I'd just be, 'Whatever,' " Orakpo said in a Monday chat with ATL at NFL Network studios. "I'm used to it. I don't have to stop and watch it no more. Because before I used to watch myself, but now it is what it is. You get used to it."
Orakpo had surgery in January to repair a torn pectoral muscle suffered in the Redskins' regular-season finale. He has been held out of offseason workouts "as a precaution," but says he'll be ready to go at the start of training camp next month.
"Absolutely. There's been a huge buzz. The biggest buzz I've seen since I've been here," Orakpo said. "I thought my buzz was pretty big when I came out here, but it's nothing compared to what Griff's going through. It's been fun so far; I'm glad to be a part of it."
Is Griffin really as special as many are describing him?
"Some guys have that 'it' factor about them, and he has it," Orakpo said. "I'm excited for it. If there's any time to be a Redskin fan, it's a perfect year for it. I feel like there's going to be some good things this year."
When asked if he sets benchmarks heading into a season, Orakpo explained he keeps a piece of paper in his garage with both statistical and team goals.
"I've been hitting them real good," he said. "It's funny, ever since I started my list back in '07, I've been hitting my goals. I'm like, 'Man, come on. This is a coincidence, this can't be true.' But it's been working, so every year I do the same thing, the same time."
I suggested he just write down "45 sacks" and see what happens.
"Hey, you never know," he said. "But it's crazy."