On the day after learning he'd be the Browns' starting quarterback, Robert Griffin sported a *"NO PRESSURE, NO DIAMONDS" *sweatshirt after Thursday afternoon's practice.
Griffin, who will return to the field for the first time since the season opener, outlined the origins of that approach and how he might apply it to the final four weeks of Cleveland's season.
Griffin, who played at Baylor and won a Heisman Trophy in his final season there, said "we had these chants that we did at the end of workouts, whether we were doing abs or running and 'no pressure, no diamonds' was one of them. Because for a long while, at Baylor, there was no pressure on anybody to get anything and there was no opportunity to get a diamond … we used that motto to kind of build our way to what we became."
In some ways, it's a fitting mantra that might currently illustrate the kind of backdrop that will accompany Griffin's second start in two seasons and Cleveland's approach over the next four weeks.
"It's nothing that I forced on anybody," he said, "but it speaks volumes to what we're going through here, we're trying to change the culture."
As the Browns prepare for the Bengals this weekend, head coach Hue Jackson — who informed Griffin of his decision late Wednesday night — didn't flinch when asked if the next month could be something of an audition for Griffin as the team's long-term answer at quarterback.
"I think so, I think the fact that we're putting him out there says that. We want to know, I want to know more. I've only seen him play for not even a full game so I think the more information, the more time I get an opportunity to evaluate, the better it's gonna be," he said.
"I'm not expecting everything to go perfect, I don't want to put that kind of pressure on anybody. It's his second game in two years so hopefully it'll go right but if it doesn't that's OK, too … but we all understand the situation he's in and that he's facing, but I think he's up for the challenge."
Indeed, both Jackson and Griffin, who was cleared to play last week, stressed the importance of staying in the moment. "You can't focus on those big-picture things," Griffin said, "you have to focus on the little things."
On Sunday, that means making the right reads and right throws against a tough Bengals defense that shut down the Eagles last weekend.
Jackson, who acknowledged Griffin still might show some signs of rust, maintained "he's ready to play from a physical standpoint and emotional standpoint."
Griffin, who said he's embracing the idea of what will be his first time playing in front of Cleveland fans, said Jackson didn't offer him "any special message or anything like that."
"He just told me," he said, "'Hey, I feel you give us the best chance to win — let's go do this.''