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Ravens' Robert Griffin III makes 'emotional' NFL return

CANTON, Ohio -- While many focused on Lamar Jackson's debut Thursday night, the Hall of Fame game also represented a significant moment for the Baltimore Ravens' other Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback -- Robert Griffin III.

The Ravens' 17-16 win over the Bears marked Griffin's first NFL game in 19 months. He was out of the league last year and hadn't played in an NFL game since Jan. 1, 2017.

"People don't understand that once you're out of the league for a year, it's really hard to get back in, especially if you're a quarterback and a high draft pick. It's just really hard to do," Griffin said. "[Thursday] was an emotional day for me, just coming back out here. I know it's the preseason, it's the Hall of Fame game, but to have an opportunity to come back out here and play football is something that I really cherish."

With the Ravens not playing Joe Flacco, Griffin made the start and completed 7 of 11 passes for 58 yards and one touchdown. Two of his incompletions were drops, and his interception was the result of the ball going through Breshad Perriman's hands.

Griffin is fighting to make the Ravens, and he has to break a trend to do so. Baltimore hasn't kept three quarterbacks since 2009, when it carried Flacco, Troy Smith and John Beck.

"You know, a lot of hard work went into it," Griffin said. "When you're out of football for a year, sometimes things come into question, and sometimes doubt can start to seep in, and luckily I had the right people around me, and that never happened, and I was about to continue to push through, and that's why I'm here today. I thank them a lot."