Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III heads to the media on Wednesday. (Patrick Semansky / AP)
Robert Griffin III officially re-entered the NFL on Wednesday, signing the one-year contract he and the Baltimore Ravens agreed last week and saying that his off-the-field season It helped to grow as a player.
This entry for RGIII was different from those of the past, more moderate and discreet, in keeping with his new role as reserve quarterback. He took the podium at the franchise headquarters outside of Baltimore and talked about fitting in with his new team, learning from the starting quarterback, being healthy and doing what he is asked to do.
The second pick in the 2012 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins, Griffin spent a season shortened by injury with the Cleveland Browns in 2016 and missed the entire 2017 season. Although the teams, including the Ravens, had shown interest in him during that sabbatical year, none made a commitment. Now, said Griffin, he returns to the game differently, and improved.
"I feel like I've been able to get a better understanding of how to play the game in the NFL," he told reporters on Wednesday.  Griffin, who suffered a devastating knee injury in Washington and hurt his shoulder in the Browns' opening game of the 2016 season, is also healthier than in the past.
"Being one hundred percent honest, I have not felt that good since I left college," Griffin said. "A free year of football can do that when the trucks do not land on you on every play."
Griffin expressed his gratitude for the signing and explained why he chose the Ravens, saying he "wanted to be part of an organization that has an identity."
"What I tweeted [when he and the team reached an agreement last week] #playlikeaRaven, is that identity ", He said. "I'm excited to be able to play with these guys and learn what it really means & # 39; play like a Raven & # 39;".
As for the bigger picture, restarting a career that reached stellar heights for just one season and then careening off the track, Griffin said he was concentrating on other things.
"My focus really is not on that," he said. "It's just being able to come and do what they ask me to do, be able to show it to my teammates every day, I'm a Baltimore Raven, my job is to do everything I have to do to help the team win games."
In Joe Flacco, the Ravens have a reliable starting quarterback who led them to a Super Bowl victory and only missed six games in 10 seasons. However, he is also 33 years old and he is paid around $ 22 million a year. Add to that the fact that he was upset during the first half of the 2017 season with a back injury that kept him out of training camp and it's no wonder the Ravens are considering his options in the position.
That explains the arrival of RGIII and, possibly, another quarterback in the NFL draft, even though owner Steve Bisciotti said last month that "we have bigger fish to fry" when asked if the team was looking to replace Flacco. Clearly, going with Ryan Mallett as his backup will not work this season. (Mallett, who spent 2017 with the Ravens, remains a free agent.)
"Most of my interaction with Joe it has been in midfield [after games]"Griffin said with a smile. "I really hope to get into the quarterback room with him, it's a great opportunity for me, I still feel like I'm a young player, I'm 28 years old, but I feel like I'm 25 years old," he said. "He's been through a lot of things in his career, he's been at the pinnacle, he's won a Super Bowl, he's been a Super Bowl MVP, and I think it's a great opportunity to learn from him: the way he attacks football, the way he attacks the meeting room, practices, interacts with teammates, all that kind of things, the way he leads, so I'm very excited about that opportunity and I look forward to meeting him, it seems, on Monday. " .
That's when the team's off-season volunteer conditioning program begins. Although work with coaches is limited during those sessions, Griffin will be able to familiarize himself with his new home and his new teammates.
Although his preference certainly was not to be out of the league for a year, he said he had used the time constructively while remaining ready.
"It helped me become a smarter player", Griffin said on Wednesday . "I tried to use that experience to grow, I feel like I've grown from that and I hope I can show it."
Your new coach, on the other hand, is excited about your arrival. John Harbaugh said last week he was "very excited" with the acquisition, described Griffin as a "confident guy" and said the team felt he needed a No. 2 quarterback.
"I feel we have a steal" . Harbaugh said then. "I felt like I really wanted to be here, to be a Raven."
The association has been developing for months. Griffin told ESPN last December that he had rejected offers from the Ravens and Arizona Cardinals because times and situations were not right.
The Ravens, he said then, "offered me a contract just before the first preseason game to start against the Redskins." Egoistically, I could have said, "Yes, I'll take that." I want to play against them, & # 39, but I knew I would not be ready for that offense, with those guys, to put my best foot forward.When I enter the field the next time, I want to make sure I give my best and make sure, obviously, I stay healthy but I get a good [rapport] with the team and with the athletes and coaches. "
Griffin told ESPN last December that he was" 100 percent "committed to returning to the league and competing for a starting position.
"I think every quarterback in my situation, being so young, has the success that I've had in the league, you want to be a starter," Griffin said. "That's what you want, but what am I willing to do? I'm willing to go in and compete to be QB1, because when you're out of football for a year, you have to have that expectation. Between one or two, I'm still going to compete there, but I would not mind coming in and sitting behind a veteran veteran, learn some things from them, grow with an offensive team, grow with the team, see the pieces that can put together and grow As football players that way, I'm not opposed to that, but as a field marshal, as a competitor, I want to enter and compete. "
Griffin has not appeared in an NFL game since the 2016 season, when he was 1-4 as a starter and threw two touchdowns and three interceptions. Since leaving Washington, he divorced his girlfriend from college (in 2016), became a father for the second time and last month he married his girlfriend, Grete Sadeiko.
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