By Tarik El-Bashir
If you’ve watched much television or been on any sports-related websites this offseason, there’s a very good chance you’ve seen Robert Griffin III on the screen.
From award shows in Los Angles to big-budget commercials for adidas and Gatorade, the Redskins’ rookie has, at times, seemed to be everywhere.
Griffin, though, made one thing clear the eve of his first NFL training camp Wednesday: he’s done filming commercials for now and won’t be making any appearances on the red carpet until next offseason.
He also said he plans to put down the smartphone and stop using Twitter to update his nearly 270,000 followers.
It’s all about the Redskins’ playbook now.
“It’s all business,” Griffin said told reporters during a wide-ranging 26-minute news conference at Redskins Park. “We’re getting down to the season time. I’m not going any award shows or doing any commercials during the season.”
He wasn't quite done with being a pitch man, however. During the news conference, which was televised locally and nationally, he wore a burgundy and gold T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase "No pressure, no diamonds" and the adidas logo.
Although Griffin won’t toss his first pass in an NFL contest until he suits up for the preseason opener August 8th in Buffalo, the quarterback said he never had any hesitation about doing the types of commercials that are often reserved for more accomplished pros.
“You’re only unproven if you think you’re unproven,” he said. “I’m not proven, but I don’t think I’m unproven, either. …The only thing I made sure I stayed with was companies I truly believe in and not just doing things to get money. It was great experience doing all those things. Everybody wants to be in the Gatorade commercial, get the Gatorade dripping from your face.”
Asked if he sought the counsel of any veteran teammates before agreeing to do the high-profile ads, Griffin said followed the advice from those in his inner circle.
“I talked to my guys about that type of stuff,” he said. “We wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing too much before I [even] played. But the situations that arose seemed fine. If it wasn’t good, I definitely would have felt it in the locker room. But when all the guys showed up, most of them were even laughing about them or saying they were really cool. It rubbed the team the right way.”
“The team doesn’t look at me … as a celebrity,” he added. “Yeah I’m their quarterback and I’m the guy that’s going to lead them to victory, but there’s no celebrity.”
Then he cracked: “There’s no autographs in the locker room, for the most part. I’m not RG3 to them, I’m just Robert.”
Like the commercials and other endorsements, Griffin added that Twitter will have to wait, too.
It’s not that he has tweeted that much. In fact, he’s only sent out 377 of the 140 character messages, and many of them have been responses to his growing legion of fans.
“As far as getting rid of it, probably not,” he said. “But as far as tweeting goes, probably not too much tweeting. We don’t plan on losing any games, but you can’t tweet when you win and not tweet when you lose.”
“So,” he added, “you might as well not tweet altogether.”
Some observers have wondered recently if Griffin was putting himself at risk of becoming over exposed. Perhaps. But the good news for Redskins fans is that no one needed to tell him that playtime over and it was time to get to work.
He figured that one out on his own.
“It’s going to be really good to just bear down and focus on football," he said.