'Other' Robert Griffin bears strong witness to an NFL dream

07/04/2012 11:43 PM

07/05/2012 8:59 AM

EULESS -- Attention: Former Baylor football player and current NFL rookie Robert Griffin will be at Pennington Field on Saturday as one of the headlining hosts of the third annual Attention to Detail Football Camp.

But before you get into a Heisman Trophy frenzy, it's not that Robert Griffin, as in RGIII, the Washington Redskins quarterback and No. 2 overall pick.

It's Robert T. Griffin, the former Euless Trinity offensive lineman who had the pleasure and privilege of blocking for his more famous namesake at Baylor.

He doesn't begrudge the confusion or being in the shadow of the ultra-star quarterback.

A sixth-round pick of the New York Jets, Griffin is living his own NFL dreams.

"It's great," said Griffin, who is back home until training camp. "I was hoping to get drafted. I didn't know if I would. But God put me in the right place. I'm glad to be in New York. I have a great coach. I have a great offensive line coach. I'm just learning so much, how to play the game, how to stay in the game."

Considering the circus that is the Jets' locker room, it's a good thing Griffin knows how to stay in the shadows of a celebrity, even though it was a little awkward when he first got to Baylor.

"But as the days went by it got better," Griffin said of his time with RGIII. "He was the quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner. I had the pleasure to block for him on his road to the Heisman. I can tell my kids that one day."

Griffin said understanding his role made things easier for him playing in the shadow of his namesake.

"He is the quarterback. He touches the ball. I just block," Griffin said somewhat facetiously. "He scores the touchdowns. I'm in the trenches. I just did my job. His job is to stay clean. My job is to get dirty. You have to know your role on your team. I know my role and I did what I had to do."

In addition to technique, understanding your role is one of the messages Griffin plans to impart to the participants at the Attention to Detail Camp on Saturday.

He said he also talks to youth about working hard both on the field and in the classroom.

Griffin had to learn the hard way. After being part of two state title teams at Trinity, he signed a scholarship to play football at UCLA in 2008.

But Griffin didn't qualify academically and went to Navarro Junior College.

He quickly learned his lesson and graduated from Navarro in a year and a half before enrolling at Baylor so he could be close to home and close to his mom, Brenda, who died of colon cancer in December.

"My mom was my heart and soul," Griffin said. "She did so much for me. It's hard to talk about. She went through thick and thin and then got cancer last year. These last few months have been hard for me. Everything I did in life was for my mom, and I tried to make her happy."

Griffin uses the memories of his mom as motivation for his career and as inspiration to others.

"If you can't work hard and succeed for yourself, do it for somebody else, somebody that you care so much about you will do anything for because they were there for you," Griffin said.

Griffin's message fits right along with that of Chase Webber, who founded the camp three years ago, along with Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Ryan McBean. Both are Trinity alumni.

"The reason the camp was started was to teach young men that you have to learn the small things in order to make a bigger picture," Webber said. "I think that the youth today have a want-it-now mentality today. But things don't happen that way. Things take time and you have to work at it, and that's in anything you do. ... What we want to do is give these kids life lessons as well as the information on the field that can take them to a different level."

Also hosting the camp are former Trinity stars Dimitri Nance (Atlanta Falcons) and Trevor Vittatoe. San Francisco 49ers cornerback and former Texas standout Tarell Brown, Carolina Panthers defensive back and former Texas A&M standout Jordan Pugh, former Dallas Cowboys and Falcons defensive back Kevin Mathis and TCU receiver and Trinity grad Brandon Carter will serve as guest coaches.

Clarence E. Hill Jr.


Twitter: @clarenceehilljr

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