Robert Griffin III could be making his final appearance in front of the home fans Saturday when he and the No. 17 Baylor Bears go for a second consecutive victory over the No. 22 Texas Longhorns.
Griffin is a junior, but he was granted a redshirt in 2009 after sustaining a devastating knee injury that he's clearly put behind him. He graduated last December with a degree in political science three years after enrolling at Baylor. He is a top three Heisman candidate and depending which draft boards you look at he could be as high as the third quarterback selected in April's NFL draft.
What he has meant to Baylor's football fortunes on the field and its profile off it is practically immeasurable. Coach Art Briles, who first recruited the Copperas Cove star to Houston before taking the Baylor job, would certainly love to have Griffin's rare combination of brilliant athleticism on the field and humility off it for one more season.
It might be wishful thinking.
"It’s something I’ve got to decide with coach Briles, coach Kaz Kazardi, our strength coach who’s played in the NFL, my family and anybody else who’s out there that I’ve felt close to to give me advice," Griffin said last week before sustaining a concussion and being knocked out early in the Bears' 66-42 victory over Texas Tech. "I don’t want it to be about money or about draft status or anything. If it’s time for me to go then it’s time for me to go. But, if I come back it won’t be because I’m not a high enough draft pick, it will be because God told me this is where I need to be, and I’m definitely proud to be a part of what’s going on here at Baylor."
What's going on at Baylor is a second consecutive bowl berth, an eight-win season for the first time since 1991 and the possibility of the first nine-win season since 1986 and first 10-win season since 1980. Such progress is a testament to the entire program, from Briles on down, but who can fathom the Bears being this good without a gem like Griffin at the helm?
He will have a decision to make. Some say it shouldn't be difficult, that he should not risk injury playing another year in college and go to the NFL in April. It will be his call.
"It’s something that I’ll decide, but right now I am a Baylor Bear," Griffin said. "We’re guaranteed [two] games, but I’m not guaranteed another day, so I’m going to make sure I seize every moment as a Baylor Bear."