Out of the league in 2017, Robert Griffin III resurrected his career by earning a roster spot in Baltimore during training camp and preseason.
He didn’t see much action, however, and will now look to take the next step in his career – whether in Baltimore or elsewhere. Griffin was on a one-year deal this season, and he wants to work his way into being a starter again.
“I’d love to be back,” Griffin said. “I feel like I’ve got a good grasp of what this team is trying to do. I would love to help Lamar [Jackson] continue to develop, and also be available and ready to play. Is that going to happen? I don’t know. Will there be other opportunities for me around the league? I don’t know.”
Griffin only appeared in three games this season and threw just six passes, usually inactive on game days. But in Baltimore’s Week 13 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Griffin led the Ravens on an important field-goal drive after Jackson left the game to be evaluated for a possible concussion.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh has made it clear that Jackson is the team’s quarterback of the future, and that Harbaugh expects to see 11-year veteran Joe Flacco in a different uniform next season.
That leaves the door open for Griffin to ascend to the No. 2 quarterback position next season if he were to re-sign with Baltimore as a free agent. However, an opportunity to compete for a starting job elsewhere could lure Griffin away.
“I really took pride in wearing this uniform this year and representing this organization,” Griffin said. “There’s a certain level of appreciation for the Ravens giving me an opportunity to get back in the league. The No. 1 priority is just taking care of my family and doing what’s right. If the opportunity is out there for me to compete to be a starter, I’ll definitely have to weigh those options.”
Griffin was a positive sounding board for Jackson this season. Both Griffin and Jackson are former Heisman Trophy winners, and both led their teams to the playoffs as rookies. After struggling in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Jackson was dejected, sitting on a stool in front of his locker, when Griffin sat next to him to offer support.
“I was proud of the way he finished (the game),” Griffin said. “There’s never been any quit in anybody in this locker room. So when you’re at the helm and you’re the quarterback, you also have to show that. Throughout his career, Joe’s done that. He’s played through injuries. Throughout my career, I’ve done that and played through injuries. I think we’re both proud of him for the way he fought through the adversity that he had early in the game and finished strong in the fourth quarter. I think that’s a true testament to his character and the type of guy and player that he can be moving forward.”
After winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with the Washington Redskins in 2012, Griffin suffered through difficult times and was booed at home the way Jackson and the Ravens were on Sunday. Griffin tried to put the fans’ frustration in perspective for Jackson, knowing how much Flacco had accomplished in Baltimore.
“I’ve been there,” Griffin said. “I’ve experienced that, and the one thing I would say to the fans is [that] they’re the reason we have a job. So, it’s hard to be critical of them. They just want us to be better, so in those moments, you can’t take it personal. You have to understand that when you have a guy who has been here for 11 years, won a Super Bowl, been a Super Bowl MVP, and things aren’t going too great early on in the game or in the third quarter, yes, maybe some fans might chant for that guy. I’ve had it happen for a guy who wasn’t a Super Bowl MVP or any of that stuff. It’s something that you just can’t take personal.”
If Griffin returns to the Ravens, he will remain confident in his ability to play well if called upon.
“This offense is suited to my skill-set,” Griffin said. “I can run really any offense now that I’m six years deep in the league and kind of have an understanding of what’s going on. I just have to make the right decision, not only for myself, but just to be in the right situation.”