The Baltimore Ravens surprised folks when they signed Robert Griffin III last week to a one-year deal. The former Washington Redskins second-overall pick spent 2017 out of football after a forgettable year with the Cleveland Browns, and had barely registered a sniff from QB-needy teams in free agency.
Griffin said Wednesday at his introductory news conference that, regardless of how his path has diverged up to this point, he is not focused on getting his career "back on track" in Baltimore. Rather, he's happy to just be part of a team.
"I feel like for me my focus really isn't on that. It's really just being able to come in and do whatever they ask me to do, being able to prove it to my teammates every day," Griffin told reporters. "I'm a Baltimore Raven. My job is to do whatever I can do to help the team win games."
Griffin hasn't started a game since Week 17 of the 2016 season after which he was released by the Browns and cast off from the NFL for a season.
"I really do look forward to getting in the quarterback room with him," Griffin said of Flacco. "It's a great opportunity for me. I still feel like I'm a young player. I know that I'm 28, but I feel like I'm 25.
"He's been through a lot of things in his career, been to the pinnacle, won a Super Bowl, won Super Bowl MVP. I think that's a great opportunity for me to learn, learn from him and just see the way that he attacks the game of football, the way he attacks the meeting room, practice, interacting with teammates, all those types of things, the way he leads."
Sitting behind a QB at least five years his senior is a new experience for Griffin. When Washington traded up to draft RGIII in 2012, he was immediately implemented as the starter with fellow rookie Kirk Cousins as the only other QB on the roster. Griffin eventually lost his job in D.C. but was never surrounded by a QB older than then-28-year-old Colt McCoy. When Griffin joined the Browns in 2016, Josh McCown, 37, was also on the roster, but Hue Jackson brought RGIII in to start, not to learn behind a veteran QB. Griffin was injured in the first game of the season.
Now, for the first time in his career, Griffin will be taking a back seat to the pressure -- from fans and the media -- of being the starting quarterback. It remains to be seen how he'll fare as a first-time mentee under Flacco, but Griffin sounds like he intends to make the most of it.