Robert Griffin III was sold on Cleveland as soon as his meeting with Browns head coach Hue Jackson and associate head coach Pep Hamilton was complete.
Now, the former Washington Redskins quarterback is focused on just one thing: Coming to Cleveland and competing to become the team’s starting quarterback.
Griffin, a free agent, made it official Thursday when he signed with the Browns.
“I'm excited about the opportunity to join the Dawg Pound and help build something here in Cleveland,” Griffin said. “Coach Hue and Pep, I had a great meeting with them. I really believe in what they preach and how they can help not only me as a player but this team win games and that's what we're all about.
“I'm just excited to come in and compete. Nothing's ever been given to me in my life, so I just want to go out and compete with the guys and grow with this team. I feel like that's all I'm really focused on.”
Griffin (6-foot-2, 218 pounds) is entering his fifth NFL season out of Baylor. Originally selected by Washington with the second overall pick in 2012, Griffin has appeared in 37 games with 35 starts. He has completed 679 of 1,063 passes (63.9 percent) for 8,097 yards with 40 touchdowns, 23 interceptions and a 90.6 rating. He has added 1,480 career rushing yards with eight scores.
“We are excited to add Robert to our team,” said Browns Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown. “Robert possesses a unique skill set at the quarterback position. He has played at a high level in this league and is intent on doing everything in his power to return to that level on a consistent basis. After meeting with him, having him work out for us and doing our diligent research, we felt it was right to grant him an opportunity with our organization. We were able to see and feel his passion and commitment to re-establishing himself as a starting quarterback in this league and his embrace of the hard work that will be is essential to his development. We've been clear on the importance of improving and stabilizing the quarterback position for our franchise. We have said that the draft is and will be our primary focus, but we will always look to complement the draft through free agency, and this is one of those examples. We look forward to working with Robert and getting him in the building with his teammates at the start of the offseason program on April 4.”
Griffin III becomes the fourth quarterback on the roster, joining veteran
“We are excited about Robert joining the Cleveland Browns,” Jackson said. “He brings starting experience to our team and organization. He's a young, athletic, talented passer and he's really just starting out in this league. Just like every player on our team, Robert will have to earn every opportunity he gets. He will compete with the rest of the quarterbacks on our roster and he helps improve our QB room, which was one of my goals upon taking the job. It's a special room and we want to put special people and players in that room.”
Griffin set NFL rookie records for passer rating (102.4), interception percentage (1.27) and rushing yards by a quarterback (815) en route to being named 2012 Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowl selection. He led the Redskins to a 10-6 record and their first division title in 13 years. Griffin totaled 3,200 passing yards with 20 touchdowns and five interceptions, while adding 815 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
Starting 13 games in 2013, Griffin recorded a career-high 3,203 passing yards, as he became the fifth quarterback in NFL history to record 3,000 passing yards in each of his first two seasons. He started seven games in 2014 and registered 1,694 passing yards. Last season, he was inactive 15 games and dressed but did not play in another. He was released by Washington on March 7.
“(The experience in Washington) helped me become a better person and a better player and showed me how much I love the game of football,” Griffin III said. “I cherish the opportunity to get another chance to play this beautiful game.”
He started 40 games at Baylor and earned the Heisman Trophy following the 2011 season. He completed 800 of 1,192 career passes (67.1 percent) for 10,366 yards with 78 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He added 2,254 rushing yards with 33 touchdowns. In 2011, Griffin led Baylor (10-3) to its first 10-win season since 1980, as well as the program’s first bowl victory in 19 years. Griffin graduated from Copperas Cove (Texas) High School and set numerous high school and college track and field records. He was born in Japan, where his parents were stationed for the military.
“We are looking forward to working with Robert, as well as the rest of the quarterbacks on our roster,” Jackson said. “We have a lot of work to do to prepare to be the best QB room in the NFL and we look forward to the challenge that lies ahead.”