Rick Snider: Redskins' Griffin III thinking about the glory haze

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ASHBURN

Robert Griffin III wasn't looking around for a cornerback or blitzing safety. He was searching for teammates with duct tape.

The Washington Redskins rookie quarterback finally practiced against veterans during the team's first organized offseason workout Monday. The first-rounder is trying to avoid Joe Theismann's biggest mistake -- upsetting his elders.

Griffin is so under the radar that the National Earthquake Information Center tracks him. A child of military parents, he's naturally respectful. Indeed, Griffin repeatedly talks about not giving the veterans a reason to tie him to a goalpost like Heath Shuler.

"I am watching," Griffin said. "So nobody has done anything, but I'm definitely keeping an eye out for whatever anyone is going to try and do."

The veterans seem amused by Griffin, making jokes about his recent beatbox bit with Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show." Griffin delivered some musical notes for Leno that veterans surely will make him repeat when rookies sing at dinner during training camp.

"They were all laughing because I can beatbox," Griffin said. "Nobody beatboxes nowadays. That's a rare thing, so [the ribbing from the veterans has been] nothing too bad."

Veterans like taunting rookies. It's part of the culture. One past quarterback was taped to a hand cart, attached to a golf cart, driven around the Frostburg campus and tied to a tree while his teammates ate dinner in front of him. Indeed, many newbies have been taped head-to-toe and left in locker rooms with equipment room managers threatened with similar fates if they released them.

Griffin's an easy target. At least, the team bus with his face on the side will be. A few blackened teeth, horns and scars certainly will be drawn on it.

"[The bus] makes it worse," he said. "Don't tell them that. From what Coach told me, most of the time they don't [haze rookies], but I'll keep my eye out just in case."

Griffin needs to fear opposing players more than the ones in his own huddle. So far, his teammates like the guy, knowing he's the key to winning.

"[Griffin's] humble," receiver Santana Moss said. "I guess when you have a guy who's humble and not so big ... I think he's one of those guys who have been through so much in their athletic career that nothing's too big."

Griffin looked like he spent the weeks since rookie camp learning the playbook. But there were moments when he let his instincts dominate.

"You don't want to stress about it," Griffin said. "You can be in your playbook 24-7 and still not know what you're doing. So I try to make it even to where I'm in my playbook and know what I'm doing and know my coverages but not beating myself in the head trying to know every little detail.

"Sometimes you have to go out and play."

Examiner columnist Rick Snider has covered local sports since 1978. Read more on Twitter @Snide_Remarks or email rsnider@washingtonexaminer.com.

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