*ROBERT GRIFFIN III PRESS CONFERENCE
Why the Ravens? I understand that you had other options, so why did you pick to come here? (David Ginsburg) "First, I want to say I'm grateful to be here. I'm excited about this opportunity, thankful to Mr. [Steve] Bisciotti, Ozzie [Newsome], Eric [DeCosta] and coach [John] Harbaugh for giving me this opportunity. I picked the Ravens because I wanted to be part of an organization that had an identity. I think what I tweeted out, 'Play Like a Raven,' is that identity. I'm excited to get to work with these guys and really learn what it means to 'Play Like a Raven.'"
I knew you had some offers last year, but after not having those, do you think after this year that after doing that, this opportunity might not come, that you might not have that opportunity to play football again? (Jamison Hensley) "I think playing football in the NFL is not something that's promised. You have to make sure you stay ready, and that's kind of what my focus was all last year. Coming into this offseason was just to make sure I stayed ready, do my part and keep the faith. [I'm] a faith-based guy. I feel like a lot of times people say, 'Keep the faith,' but they think that doesn't come with work. It comes with work. So, I kept the faith, and I made sure I did my part so when God manifested the opportunity, I was ready for it. I think I was able to show that to the people here, and I look forward to being able to show that to my teammates as well."
**Now that you're back with an NFL team, beyond staying healthy, what needs to happen for you to really get your career back on track and going the way it was at the start of your NFL career? *(Luke Jones) *"I feel like for me, my focus isn't really on that. It's really just being able to come in and do whatever they ask me to do – be able to prove it to my teammates every single day. I'm a Baltimore Raven. My job is to do whatever I can do to help the team. If I win games in whatever capacity that may be … I think that's more so my focus – just come in and [be] ready to work."
What was it like last year not playing, not knowing what your future held and going an entire season without throwing a football?*(David Ginsburg) *"I went an entire season without throwing a football in the NFL and in an NFL game, but I didn't go the whole season without throwing a football. Let's put it that way. I made sure I put the work in. Whenever you face adversity, a couple things can happen: You can crumble, get mad, be upset about it, or it can make you work harder. I continue to work through that. All the people that have ever gone through anything in their lives, and they feel like, 'Man, why am I not getting the same opportunities as this guy or that guy?' You have to make sure you keep pushing through, keep doing what you know is going to help you get to where you want to be. That's what my focus was, so I watched the games; I stayed up-to-date on what was going on in the league with what offenses were doing, what defenses were doing to counteract what the offenses were doing. It helped me become a smarter player. I tried to use that experience to grow. I feel like I have grown from that, and I look forward to being able to show that."
What's something that you've learned over the past year, or even the years before that, that maybe you didn't know when you first came into the league? (Ryan Mink) "I think everyone says that 'hindsight is 20/20.' So, if you knew some things that you know now back then, it would help you. I feel like I've been able to get a better grasp of how to play the game in the NFL, what coaches are looking for. I think that's a benefit, whereas in 2012 when I came in, it was more so learning everything on the fly and just going out and playing. Now I feel like I have to ability to go out and play and also know what I'm doing, be able to protect myself better, get the ball to the guys that need to get the ball and help a team win – in whatever way that is."
If you had a chance to sit down with the quarterbacks coming out of the draft this year, do you have any advice that you would give them if they asked you? (Keith Mills)"I've been asked [for advice]; I've been asked by a couple of them. The advice I would give them, to keep it short and frank, is [if] they are able to play at a high level in college, they can do that in the pros. Right now, it's all about what everybody is saying, and you can get caught up in that. Don't get caught up in that. It's about playing the game. Play it at a high level and listen to your coach. Know exactly who you are as a player and know that they're there to make you better."
Was that hard not to get caught up in it at the time when you were going through the draft process? (Keith Mills) "Everybody wants to be labeled 'the best quarterback,' the best 'this,' the best 'that.' I see the guys get caught up in that a little bit. You just want to make sure you don't. It is important to feel a certain kind of way, but where you get drafted, where you go is as important as the number behind your name. Hopefully, those guys get in a great organization that will take care of them. I want them to succeed and help facilitate that as best as possible. I wish the best for every single one of them."
Have you had any communication with QB Joe Flacco over the last week? What interactions have you had with him in the past? (Luke Jones)"Most of my interactions with Joe have been at midfield. (laughter) I really do look forward to getting in the quarterback room with him. It's a great opportunity for me. I still feel like I'm a young player. 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 and won a Super Bowl – Super Bowl MVP. I think that's a great opportunity for me to learn and learn from him, and to 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. So, I'm really excited about that opportunity and look forward to meeting him – looks like on Monday."
You talked about how you still feel young, and early in your career you were so elusive. Some people thought that you might have taken too many shots. Do you feel that when you get on that field, you'll be the guy that is still able to run around but protect himself a little bit? (Jamison Hensley) "I think that's the main thing. I've learned to protect myself better. If I'm being 100-percent honest, I probably haven't felt this good since I came out of college. A year off of football can do that when trucks aren't lying on you every play. I feel good about this opportunity; I feel good about my ability. I just really want to get in and learn from these guys who have been here for a long time. I know [Eric] Weddle has been in the league a while – he hasn't been here that long – but they know what it means to 'Play Like a Raven.' [Terrell Suggs] 'T-Sizzle' [and] all those guys – it's great to be on their team now and not playing against them. I'm excited about it."
The 2012 game with the Haloti Ngata hit – do you look at that as a turning point for you in a way? Is it odd to be with the Ravens considering that history?(Ryan Mink)** "I don't think that's necessarily bad history. I feel like if I was only planning to play a couple more years, maybe I would look at that as a turning point. But that's not my goal, not my focus. Hopefully this is something that can manifest and be a long-term thing. Right now, all I can focus on is what I can do to help the Ravens this year and go out and prove it every single day and come in ready to compete."
Your role will be as a backup, and that may be a first for you. What does that feel like, and is there any less pressure? Do you still feel that pressure to perform because you're a pro? (David Ginsburg)"I feel like I knew coming into this situation that this is Joe's [Flacco] team. I understood that when I came in to work out; I understood that when I signed. I'm excited about the opportunity to learn from him. Whatever capacity the coaches ask me to help, that's what I'm here to do. I'm here to compete, and I'm here to get better every single day – work hard. I think they saw that from me in the workout and in our general conversations together. I think they realize I'm ready for the opportunity and I'm ready for this role – whatever that role may be."
What conversations did you have, whether with coaches or general manager Ozzie Newsome, during that workout? They've talked about the importance of what they saw from you when you came in here and threw. (Garrett Downing)"Whenever a guy is off from football for a year, a lot of people don't expect much when they bring him in for a workout. It was even reported that it was a workout for Willie Snead and Michael Floyd, and there was just 'some random guy' that was throwing to them. *(laughter) *I think what they came away from it, at least what they echoed to me, was that they were impressed at how prepared I was for the opportunity, how eager I was to come in and just prove it to them – as opposed to relying on the merits of what I've done in the league before. I think that's what they're excited about. I'm not just relying on what I did in the past. I want to show them the player that I am, the player that I can be moving forward. It's time to let that stuff go and move forward as a new player, a better player, a grown player. That's what I'm excited about, and I'm glad that they saw that in me and have given me this opportunity."
How much time have you spent in Baltimore? Have you had some time to get to know the town before things get cranked up? (Stephen Smith) "I haven't! I'm actually in Orlando right now. I just flew in last night. I really look forward to becoming a bigger part of the greater Baltimore community with whatever philanthropic efforts I can possibly do. I know the team does a great job of incorporating the players into the community, and I'm excited about that. When I get back, hopefully this weekend, maybe I'll be able to tour the city a little bit before we get going. The focus is primarily football, but a big part of what we do is giving back to the community, so I'm excited about that."
Can you talk about your play? You've heard it many times about if you can be a pocket quarterback. Is that a question for you at this point in your career? (Jamison Hensley) "It's not for me. I feel like I've been in a couple offenses that have asked me [to] primarily be in the pocket, and I've shown that I can do that. To say, 'Hey, this is the only type of player you have to be,' that would be my advice to those guys coming out. Don't necessarily completely change your game in what's helped you be successful. You can be better at it. You can be better at protecting yourself, you can be better at playing in the pocket, you can be better playing outside the pocket. Those are all things that I've tried to get better at, whether that be in live action or by watching all of last year. I can't tell you how to be a great reporter. I can't tell you what type of questions to ask, or how to ask them. You know what makes you a great reporter. I know what has made me successful in the past, and I know what's going to help me attain that success in the future. I look forward to learning from coach [James] Urban, the quarterbacks coach, Marty Mornhinweg, the offensive coordinator, and just seeing how they break down football so it can help me understand some things even better and be able to grow as a player."
Robert, you talk a lot about protecting yourself. Can you explain more about what you mean by that? (Kevin Richardson) "Some guys protect themselves in the pocket and fall down before they get hit and throw the ball away. I'm more so talking about protecting myself outside the pocket. You're going to get hit in this league – it's just what it is; it's going to happen. The offensive line's job is to make that not happen; your job is to make that not happen by getting the ball out of your hands. But more so, what has been bad for me in the past is protecting myself outside the pocket. So it doesn't mean I'm not going to run. It just means that when I do run, I'll be smarter about it. I'll slide earlier, get out of bounds when I have to, and when it's time to run for 70 [yards], I'll run for 70. It just is what it is. That's what I more so learned by watching over the years. I'm excited about that."
*Is there any point last year when you were watching TV where it was especially difficult, or you looked at the TV and went, "Man, I should be playing right now?" *(Ryan Mink) *"Every day, *if I'm being honest. You watch what happens, you see and you respect the guys that are out there. I'm not a guy that roots against guys. Some people believe in karma, [and] that's just bad karma. You want to go out and be successful, but you don't want to wish for somebody's downfall. That's not the kind of guy I am, so I can watch the game and be like, 'Man, I should be out there!' I want to be out there. Now, what am I doing to make sure that I'm out there? That's the approach I took to it. Instead of being upset on Sundays and watching the games and getting bitter, I watched the games and said, 'Now I'm going to go work on this all next week to make sure that whatever this mistake was, or whatever they did well right there, then I'm going to get better at that. So when I get my opportunity, I'm ready to go.' I think that's all I can preach. It's hard work and dedication. You can't get complacent or feel sorry for yourself, because life's not fair. You have to go make the most of your opportunities. The Ravens blessed me with this one, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure it's lasting."