Robert Griffin III jumps into community as well as Browns' playbook

In mid-April, Cleveland Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III flew to Gainesville, Florida, to pay a surprise visit to 11-year-old Samantha Foss, who has cystic fibrosis. Griffin gave Foss a jersey he had made for her -- and left the family stunned at his visit.

This was not an isolated occurrence, though. Whether intentional or happenstance, Griffin has been very active in representing the Browns. It's tough not to notice all he's been doing with community activities since he signed with the Browns March 24.

This might mean nothing in terms of completing a third-down throw with Geno Atkins in his face mask, but for Griffin to immediately become a part of the community should not be dismissed.

There are some who say Griffin views this opportunity with the Browns as a last chance to revive his career. If so, he has been proactive in many ways in showing the same commitment off the field that he's trying to show on it. (Browns WR Terrelle Pryor posted an Instagram video showing he had arrived at the team facility at 7 a.m., and Griffin was already at his locker studying the playbook.)

Griffin was a voluntary part of the team's Fan Fest on Saturday. He and guard John Greco sat together signing autographs and taking photos, mainly with kids. Griffin and his teammates also visited with other kids in attendance.

Griffin took the other quarterbacks, quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton and strength assistant Art Tolhurst to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ home victory over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on May 4.

That same day, Griffin joined teammate Cam Erving in presenting new helmets to the North Ridgeville (Ohio) High School football team, courtesy of the Browns. Griffin posed as a mannequin wearing the helmet, and surprised a couple of students who approached him.

Griffin and a dozen other teammates also visited patients at University Hospitals on April 25. He joined another group at St. John Medical Center on April 27

Of course, Griffin is not the only player making these appearances. (For instance, Erving took 17-year-old Elna Wright to her prom after her boyfriend died; Wright is in a wheelchair because of a condition called hereditary spastic paraplegia.)

Too much should not be made of Griffin's actions, nor should he be canonized for them. However, when a quarterback with his Q rating does these things, it stands out. And when a new player makes the kind of effort Griffin is making, it shows a commitment.

It also helps Griffin get to know his teammates. He rode to University Hospitals with Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas.

Griffin has been quiet on social media. In the past, social media had been an issue for him. In Washington, he got in debates with fans, and he was advised by Magic Johnson on the Mike & Mike show on ESPN Radio to "quit focusing on your brand."

The only photos Griffin has posted on social media since he joined the Browns are of him practicing and smiling with fans or with his daughter Reese. He hasn't been silent, but he has avoided anything quirky or controversial.

Does this add up to success on the field?


In fact, when Griffin was with the Redskins, he was active in the Washington, D.C., community.

The quarterback position involves leadership as well as ability, so every action and choice means something. Griffin could have sat back, rested on his reputation and his second-overall-draft-pick status from 2012, and just tried to win the job. He didn't. He's done more.

When it comes to quarterbacks, any positive step is a good one for the Browns.