Robert Griffin III, Subway Sandwiches & Being a man

This interview originally appeared on our sister site, TheFootballGirl.com

He had hair of dried chili peppers, teeth that were made of garlic and his lips were covered in barbeque sauce… No, this is not the mirage of a girl trying her best to cut calories before her wedding/prom/spring break.  It was the unveiling of the life-size food statue version of Robert Griffin III.  Made of Subway Smokehouse BBQ Chicken, RG3 aptly pointed out that while the sandwich boasts a low six grams of fat, his statue-self, known as RG3.5, couldn’t say the same.

Appetizing. (Photo: Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Subway)

Under normal circumstances, no New Yorker would ever endure the type of crowd that filled the small Subway store on the corner of 5th and 29th in NYC on Tuesday without a VIP area.  But in this case, the room was filled with 40 representatives from the media all there to watch RG3 make a few sandwiches for designated customers, pose with his sandwich-self and show off his new Subway socks.  We collectively asked him about ten pages worth of questions, but here are just some of the highlights:

What has this week been like?

RG3:  It’s been crazy, it’s been a whirlwind…. You’ve got to live in the moment and don’t let the moment live you.

How do you feel about the expectations that come with you already being called “King of DC”?

RG3:  Expectations will be high.  But you want that kind of pressure.  You want those expectations; you want that excitement, because it’s not hype.  They really believe in you.  I just need to make sure my team believes in me, because that’s all that matters at the end of the day.  If they go out there and they fight for me, then we can go out and win football games.

Comment on the pressure you will be under:

RG3:  Peyton [Manning] said pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what you’re doing.  But if there’s no pressure, there is no diamond.  When you’re in those big times games, in those big time moments, in the 4th quarter, you want all that pressure on you because that means you actually have a chance.  As long as you have a chance, you can go out and be successful.  When did I feel that pressure?  I definitely felt it against TCU, felt it against Oklahoma.  And we came out on top.  You have to feel the pressure because otherwise you’re detached from the game.

As you join a new team, how do you get your teammates to believe in you?

RG3:  I have to go in and prove it to them. You can’t come in thinking that you’re big dog.  I might be the second pick.  I might be who the fans want as the quarterback, who the coaches want as the quarterback.  But I still have to go out and beat Rex Grossman.

A collective laugh as one reporter calmly responded, “Stop.  You do not have to beat Grossman”…

RG3:  Rex Grossman is the quarterback of Washington right now and I have to go beat him out.  So I have to prove to those guys that I’m there to work and I will.  Not just because I’m trying to put on a front, because it’s who I am. I’m going to work. I’ll be the first one in, last one out and it won’t be a cliché with me.

If RG3 does lose that battle to Grossman, there’s always sandwich making (Photo: Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Subway

What do you think of the excitement of this week?

RG3:  On Thursday when they call our names, that’s the highlight of everything.  It’s not the parties or being in New York.  It’s being drafted and having your dreams realized—that’s what everyone is looking forward to.

What does it mean to you to be the face of the franchise?

RG3:  Integrity. Hardwork. Dedication.  When everything goes wrong, they’re looking at you.  When everything goes right, they’re looking at you. And you have to be able to manage that.  I was blessed to have that at Baylor and grow through it so now when I get to DC I’ll be better prepared for it and I’ll look forward to it.

Have you heard anything from the Colts?

RG3:  No, they haven’t told me anything.  And you never know with Mr. Irsay what he’s going to do.  I think it’s safe to say that Andrew Luck will be #1, I’ll be #2. I’m not satisfied with that.  But I’m glad to be in Washington.

How did you come to endorse Subway?

RG3:  You don’t want to be a sponsor or endorser of anything you don’t really believe in.  When it comes to Subway, it’s something that I know a lot of college athletes really rely on, especially our team did, before practice, after practice, in-between meals.  So it’s something that I’m truly a fan of.  It’s not just, “we’ll throw you a bunch of money and you’ll say you like Subway.” It’s something I’ve liked for a long time and it’s an honor to be a part of.

What is the hardest part of this experience?

RG3:  Waking up early.  Having hard days.  Nothing’s really hard honestly. You just have to enjoy it.  Not everyone likes cameras in their face.  Not everyone likes talking all the time.  I’m one of those people, but you have to do it, when you have to do it.  One of our coaches says, “men do what they want to do, boys do what they want to do.”  I’m a man and I have to do this, so I’m going to do it.

What do you expect from the defenses you will face in the NFL?

RG3:  You can’t compare college pass rushers to the Giants, with Tuck, Umenyiora, and everybody else on that squad.  Although you don’t want to start naming names,–guys get mad if you don’t mention them.  Have I faced a guy like a Justin Tuck?  Yeah maybe I have at Oklahoma or Texas or even at Baylor.  But, to have all of those guys on the same team is what makes it truly different.  But it’s also different for offenses because you have offensive linemen who are all all-Americans in college.  At the end of the day, it balances itself out.  And I’ll be more focused on where I need to be offensively, then where are these guys at because I don’t want to get it.  You can’t play the game scared.

When you met with the Redskins, did they try to teach you their offense?

RG3:  They didn’t come in there and throw the playbook at me, one, because it’s illegal and two, because it just wouldn’t be smart.  With rookie quarterbacks you want to ease them into it, as fast as you can.

What are your thoughts on working with Redskins head coach Mike Shannahan?

RG3:  Of course, Coach Shannahan is great with the zone scheme.  And then the play action off of that.  That’s what we did extremely well at Baylor this past year, so I’m looking forward to doing that. … I know a lot about Coach Shanahan.  I was a Broncos fan growing up.  I watched John Elway, Terrell Davis, Ed McCaffrey, Rod Smith, Shannon Sharpe all those guys and that’s what inspired me to play football….I know the kind of guy he is.  Outside looking in, I know that he’s won two Super Bowls and that he knows how to build quarterbacks.

Will any of your friends, family or your girlfriend be joining you when in DC?

RG3:  My fiancé will be moving with me.  My parents are based out of Texas and right now they’re going to stay in Texas.  Eventually they’ll move up, but we don’t know when that will be.  My extended family is based out of New Orleans, That will be kind of funny if I get drafted by the Redskins – we play New Orleans first in the Super Dome.  So they’ll be a lot of boos, but the few hoorays I hear, I know that’s my family.

What are your thoughts on Twitter now that you are on there?

RG3:  Different people use it for different things.  I just want people to know that I was a dreamer and I wanted to be motivated and I had to find that through different avenues.  I know that I can influence a lot of people.  So whenever I say something, it’s not scripted, it’s just something that I’m feeling in that moment, but I know that it can affect a lot of people.  I’m not on there talking about my personal life or things like that.  It’s all about what my fans need to hear.  What am I feeling in that moment?  Repeatedly what you say and what you do, is who you are.  If you’re on Twitter talking about things you shouldn’t be talking about, then that’s just the kind of person that you are…  I’m not going to tell people, hey I just opened up a bag of Doritos and ate them, that’s not what I use Twitter for.

How do you view the difference between confident and cocky?

RG3:  Some guys are cocky-confident and then other guys are just confident.  I try to think that I’m a confident guy.  Not cocky-confident guy.  I believe in my abilities.  I believe in the guys around me and I know I can’t do it all by myself. Sometimes a cocky-confident guy can think he can do it all by himself.  I’m not that guy and I try to always involve my teammates.  It’s not a show.

Are there any hard feelings against the Colts for not picking you as we’re assuming?

RG3:  I know everyone wants to say that I didn’t work out for the Colts, but I didn’t work out for anybody.  No hard feeling. Maybe I was the only that thought that there was ever a chance for me to go to Indianapolis.  But that’s how you have live life.   Live it this big, so then when it does narrow down you can give your all to the team that does pick you.

RG3 would not tell us anything about the socks he is planning to wear on Thursday, other than that they will be multi-colored.  And when I asked him who was the designer of what he is wearing to the draft (presumably a suit), he explained that no one designed his socks.

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