He came in with a plan, and the plan was to have no plan, or at least not one that was obvious. In the NFL, they can sniff out a wannabe-leader, a bold-faced climber, a fraud from a mile away. All the way back in the spring, Robert Griffin III knew he wanted to make the Washington Redskins his team, that he needed to do so — to mold it to his will — in order to take the franchise where he wanted to take it.
But he had to do it the right way — slowly, organically, respectfully. Eventually, undoubtedly, he would become the Redskins’ leader, but it couldn’t be his call.
Griffin, the son of two retired Army sergeants, had come into the Redskins’ organization as the equivalent of a five-star general — with a $21.1 million contract and four national television commercials before he had taken his first professional snap. But he was going to conduct himself like a private.
“My strategy was to come in and try to lead by example first,” Griffin said recently. “Being a rookie, you don’t want to come in talking right away. You can rub a lot of guys the wrong way. . . . One thing you can’t do as a leader is come out and say you’re the leader.”