Robert Griffin is returning for his sophomore year for the Baylor Bears, the perennial underdogs in the Lone Star State, with a renewed focus on football, or so he says when the cameras and the coach are nearby. You hear the term “world class speed” thrown around a lot, but in his case you can take it literally. Missing the 2008 Olympics by a nose in the 400 hurdles, this track superstar from Copperas Cove, Texas will be leading a resurgent (they’re hoping) Baylor Bears toward a shot at….well….hopefully being better. I mean, let’s face it, this is not the year that Baylor is going to shock the world in the Big 12. But they’ve improved in a lot of ways and they might make things interesting in the coming years, and they’re hoping they can get the commitment out of Robert Griffin that Baylor is putting forth throughout the rest of it’s program.
It’s Going To Take Dedication, But Is Robert Griffin Willing?
There’s been a lot of track stars that have made the transition to football successfully, and a whole lot more who haven’t. Griffin played both all along – but that’s not too hard at the high school level when you’re born with legs like a deer. But Griffin showed he can do it at the college level, too. After a rather shocking freshman season in which Griffin won more awards than “Gone With The Wind” as the nation’s youngest starting QB, the expectations are much, much higher now, and the glaring stare of the dauntingly powerful Big 12 is focused dead at him. But he faces a series of life-changing decisions in the coming years that revolve around his favorite two things on Earth – track and football – and although this crazy-leg scrambler is capable of doing both at an insanely high level, even he likely can’t do both at the level he’s capable of doing either one individually – the NFL and the Olympics. So what’s it gonna be? Well, since I asked me, I’ll answer me – I have no idea – and neither does Griffin.
Heads or Tails – The Olympics, or the NFL?
Griffin talks as if he’s committed to football. To him, it’s probably more commitment than he’s shown toward football over track in his life so far. This year he’s not competing in track in order to show his coaches and teammates at Baylor that he’s committed to football. So stand up there tall and proud and show the world you’re committed, Griffin. Here’s the microphone, look into the camera, and tell the world that the Baylor Bears, on the shoulders of Robert Griffin, are going to shock the state of Texas, the Big 12, and the world of college football by going to their first bowl game since 1994 and maybe even go undefeated you’re so damn serious about this!
“Track is one of the things I love,” Griffin said. “I had to give it up this year for the time being, to build that chemistry, build that trust and show them they’re worth giving up something I love to play football with them.”
Ummmm…..psssst…..Robert….come here a minute, I need to talk to you privately for a moment. Dude, you really should have left out the parts about “had to” and “for the time being”! You’re playing football in Texas, man! There is no halfway! Oh, for the luvva…..
But Can You Blame Him? We’re Talking The Olympics!
I don’t blame him a bit. How can you decide between the two things you love the most, when you’ve never had to before, and it’s never hurt you one bit? How can you choose to give up either one, when you’re one of the most talented human beings on Earth at both? To me, it doesn’t seem possible. To Robert Griffin, it’s just not going to happen, at least not right now.
Sure, he’ll set aside track for one spring – but of course he’s training his ass of at it anyhow I’m sure. I would be. Someday he’s going to have to make a choice that will likely cost him his world-class ranking at one or the other, and as he points out, the year he would be drafted into the NFL is also the next Olympic year, and he knows for a fact he can make the Olympics this time. But for now, nobody – not even Robert Griffin – knows what he will do.
But I damn sure know what I’m going to do. Being from Buffalo, NY it’s just in me to root for the underdog – I mean, what choice have I been given? You “run whatcha brung”, you “play the hand you’re dealt” – right? Well, if the Buffalo Bulls can win the MAC Championship, then anything is possible. Baylor coach Art Briles and QB Robert Griffin are sick of the idea that the Baylor Bears were dealt the “losers” card in Texas. Neither have ever been losers, and both are as capable as any of being world class in the football arena. It definitely isn’t going to be the “year of the Bears” in the Big 12 this year, but it could be the second year of a turnaround of epic proportions – a year that just may finally lead the Baylor Bears to a bowl game. So you can be sure I’ll be watching the Bears and Robert Griffin when they step on the field in ‘09. I’ve just gotta see this kid run! And run he will – but what stage that will be on in a few years from now is anybody’s guess.