|National Football League|
RGIII to DC: Griffin goes No 2 overall to Redskins
By JOSEPH WHITE
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) There was no mistaking Robert Griffin III at the NFL draft. The ends of his dreadlocks settled onto a baby blue jacket. His checkered-patterned shirt was offset by a purplish tie with horizontal stripes.
Of course, there were the standout socks. Burgundy and gold stripes, the colors of his new team, with the words "GO CATCH YOUR DREAM."
"Go catch that dream - because a lot of times when you chase something you never get to it," he said. "So if you say, `Hey, I'm going to go catch my dream,' you're already telling yourself that you're going to get it."
And, when asked how it felt to be finally chosen No. 2 overall Thursday by the Washington Redskins, he broke into the team's fight song.
"Hail to the Redskins! Hail vic-tor-y!" said Griffin, singing to Washington reporters by phone from New York. "That's how I felt. It felt that good."
The selection of the Heisman Trophy winner from Baylor, which was welcomed with chants of "R-G-3!" inside Radio City Music Hall, ends a monthlong courtship aimed at ending a revolving door at quarterback that has hampered the Redskins for two decades.
Targeting Griffin all the way, Washington traded three first-round picks and a second-rounder to the St. Louis Rams last month to move into the No. 2 slot. Knowing that the Indianapolis Colts were planning to take Andrew Luck at No. 1, the Redskins got a head start by having offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan meet twice with Griffin for a total of six hours to discuss offensive schemes.
The process kept Griffin from experiencing the usual draft-day suspense, but he's fine with that.
"It would have been pretty interesting to see the Redskins trade up to No. 2 right here in this room and see my reaction, but I'm not mad about it. A team said they loved me and they let everyone know early on that they wanted me, so they traded up and made it happen, so I'm not mad about that," he said as the first-round selections continued. "A lot of guys in this room right now are feeling a lot of anxiety."
Griffin is the Redskins' highest pick since linebacker LaVar Arrington also went at No. 2 in 2000. Arrington made three Pro Bowls in six seasons in Washington.
Much, much more is expected from RG3.
The Redskins have started 21 quarterbacks over the last 19 seasons. Rex Grossman and John Beck combined to put together a 5-11 record last year, Washington's fourth consecutive last-place finish in the NFC East. Coach Mike Shanahan won a pair of Super Bowls with John Elway and the Denver Broncos in the late 1990s, and he's pegged his plans for a turnaround in the nation's capital around the player who did the same for Baylor.
"You're always looking for that franchise guy," Mike Shanahan said, "and that term is used without him proving himself yet - we understand that. But he's got everything that you look for in a quarterback. Hopefully we can get the supporting cast around him and start playing very well."
Growing up in Texas, Griffin has followed the Redskins as an NFC East foe of the Dallas Cowboys. He's fully aware of Washington's quarterback troubles.
"I've seen the Redskins over the years, I've seen the many quarterbacks that they've gone through," Griffin said, "and I'm glad that the organization and the coaching staff bought into drafting a younger quarterback, trying to make him their franchise quarterback and growing with him."
Griffin will make his practice debut with the Redskins next weekend at a three-day rookie minicamp.
"I know one thing - he's going to go 100 mph and he's a sponge," Mike Shanahan said. "He loves what he does. He wants to be the guy, and he's going to do everything he possibly can to be successful, and you don't have to be around him very long to figure that out."
Griffin was able to turn Baylor into a winner again, leading the Bears' first back-to-back bowl appearances since the early 1990s. A threat with his arm as well as his legs, he shattered virtually every game, season and career passing and total offense record at the school.
He threw 37 touchdown passes last year with only six interceptions, amassing 4,293 yards passing and 699 yards rushing. The Bears culminated a 10-3 season with a 67-56 win over Washington in the Alamo Bowl.
It's often said that the Redskins quarterback is the second most important person in Washington, behind only the president of the United States. Griffin's selection was treated that way Thursday night. There were long lines of fans waiting to get into the stadium hours before the draft, and loud cheers erupted when Griffin's face was shown on the scoreboard during a Washington Wizards game at the Verizon Center.
All of them surely can't wait to hear him sing the fight song. First, he has to learn more than the first two lines.
"I'll learn the rest," he said, "and I'll sing it for y'all soon."
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
Updated April 26, 2012