Robert Griffin III spoke of humility and second chances in his first public comments since signing with the Cleveland Browns on Thursday.
Griffin, the former Washington Redskins quarterback who was released by the team earlier this month, said he was excited for something of fresh start.
"I just learned it's a beautiful game we play. It's a privilege to play the game. (I learned) really how much you have to love the game to go through some of the ups and downs that are presented to you in the NFL," Griffin said on a teleconference, "and I'm looking forward to a lot more ups and growing with Cleveland, coach Hue (Jackson) and (associate head coach) Pep (Hamilton), my teammates.
"I'm looking to do something special here in Cleveland."
Griffin, the former Heisman Trophy winner who burst onto the NFL scene as a rookie in 2012, became a free agent after four seasons of highs and lows with the Redskins.
Named the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, Griffin was considered among the league's top quarterbacks in his first year out of Baylor. But following a knee injury in Washington's playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks that year, Griffin struggled to duplicate the magic that turned him into one of the league's superstars.
Griffin's final three seasons with the Redskins were marked by inconsistent play, and he was ultimately replaced by Kirk Cousins last year following a preseason concussion.
"If you ask any competitor and you take them out of their competitive realm and say you can't do what you hope to do, it's going to be tough. I wouldn't be who I am today if that wasn't tough on me last year," Griffin said.
"But I learned a lot, grew a lot, dedicated myself to make sure I took the time after practice every day for an hour to continue to work because I knew I'd be presented with an opportunity like this."
Griffin is expected to compete for the right to be Cleveland's starting quarterback under first-year coach Hue Jackson, who spoke glowingly of the 26-year-old at the NFL's annual owners' meetings earlier this week.
"I think we all know he's a talented player, he's a good person, a good young man. The guy can throw a football, he can run a football. And this past year he didn't play," Jackson told reporters in Boca Raton.
"I think he learned a lot, I think he humbled himself a little bit, he knows he's got a lot of work to do ahead of him to get himself back to where he was, but I think he's willing to do the work."
Griffin described last season as a period of introspection. "I think what I learned most was just the love that's inside of me for this game of football," he said.
"What happened down there would break a lot of people, I thank God for the people he surrounded me with to help me get through that time and to show me that this is what I'm supposed to do, this is my calling. I'm excited about that, and when it comes to what I need to work on, I'm excited to have another opportunity to grow … that's big, and I just need to go out and prove it."
To be sure, Griffin made it clear that his arrival in Cleveland is bigger than him.
"This isn't about me to be honest with you. I just want to go out and help this team win football games and I believe in what coach Hue is preaching, I believe in Pep Hamilton and what they intend to do. It's about the team, it's about coach," Griffin said.
"It's about believing in this team, and believing in this city … It's not about me and my career, it's about this team and growing with this team."