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Facing the biggest obstacle in his football career, RG3 turned to a former Olympian for help


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Didn't see it posted, otherwise sorry mods please merge it, thanks.

"It is as much a part of the Robert Griffin III package as the dreads, the RG3 abbreviation or the witty intelligence that charms and disarms all who meet the Washington Redskins quarterback. It is … the injury.

Griffin's torn anterior cruciate ligament at the start of his sophomore season at Baylor and the way he rebounded from it to become a Heisman Trophy winner and the No.2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft is held up as the ultimate proof of his champion's character.

Griffin tore his ACL during a game in 2009, but a crucial part of the tale that helped him rebound from the injury has remained largely unknown, one that saw Griffin seek counsel from an Olympic track star in the rare moments when his belief started to waver.

As Griffin prepares for Sunday's visit to the St Louis Rams, where he will attempt to repeat his superb debut performance in a 40-32 road victory over Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, his father revealed how 1992 relay gold medalist and former world record holder Leroy Burrell had helped keep the clouds of self-doubt at bay when it mattered most.

"When Robert got that injury, I was not going to leave any stone unturned and I wanted to know everything I could about it," Robert Griffin Jr. told Yahoo! Sports. "I looked all across the spectrum to see what athletes had come back from it and been successful.

"It really came down to Jerry Rice and Leroy Burrell, they were the guys who had done it, come back and been great again. I didn't have access to Jerry Rice, but I did have access to Coach Burrell."

leroy-jpg_044808.jpgLeroy Burrell (Getty Images)Leroy Burrell became Coach Burrell in 1998, taking control of the University of Houston track program that once boasted himself and a certain Carl Lewis on its squad. Griffin, a 400-meter hurdler of such repute that he finished 11th in the 2008 Olympic trials as an 18-year-old, was originally destined to become a Cougar on a joint football and track scholarship.

That all changed when Houston football coach Art Briles left to join Baylor before Griffin's freshman season, meaning RG3's college destiny would be clad in deep green not red and white. But Griffin and his father had both felt a connection with Burrell during campus visits and the lines of communication were reopened when injury struck with a combination of terrible timing and a torn ligament.

Griffin had enjoyed a productive freshman season at Baylor, starting 11 of 12 games and earning Big 12 freshman of the year honors. The torn ACL, sustained in the third game of his sophomore year, was a huge roadblock and through those long months of rehab the NFL seemed a long ways away. His father, a proud man with a military background who raised his children with strict discipline yet unwavering love, was not prepared to let RG3's mindset become clouded by the dual agonies of treatment and months on the sidelines. So he picked up the phone.

"We had to make sure we were careful not to break any NCAA rules as [burrell] was coach at a different program," Griffin Jr. said. "I would call him while Robert was in my presence, as he was not allowed to call us.

"Robert was very determined not to let the injury beat him, but it is hard when you feel there is no one who understands what you are feeling – the pain, the disappointment, wondering what the future holds for you.

"It was such a huge benefit to have someone that had instant credibility with us, able to talk and help him see some things with a new perspective, to see that this could be recovered from and you could still be great.

"I could identify with Robert, I am his father. Anyone who has been injured could identify with him. But he and Leroy had an emotional connection on that issue because of the respect and the understanding of what battles need to be overcome.""

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Nice find, FrFan, thanks for sharing.
Great article FrFan. Very inspiring.

Can't wait for Sunday week 2 against the Rams where we break our jinx against them where they always seem to bring us down to their level .


You're welcome, Robert still continues to impress me on and off the field. He's just a rookie but his aura and personality are amazing.

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You're welcome, Robert still continues to impress me on and off the field. He's just a rookie but his aura and personality are amazing.

Living in the Midwest, most of my friends have only seen whatever ESPN has shown of his on the field abilities, and that's it. So that's what I keep explaining to people in this area, not only is he dynamic on the field, you truly couldn't build a better off the field personality and demeanor for your franchise QB. This kid is way too good to be true, we're in for a long, fun ride I believe.

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