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Q&A With Robert Griffin III: NFL Return, Current Heisman Favorite, Partnership With Goodyear

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 30: Robert Griffin III speaks onstage during round four of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 30, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 30: Robert Griffin III speaks onstage during round four of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 30, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Former No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III is keeping himself quite busy this fall, helping out ESPN with its NFL and college football coverage.

Griffin has called multiple college football games this season. He has also made regular appearances on ESPN’s Get Up, Monday Night Countdown and SportsCenter.

In addition to his work with ESPN, Griffin has partnered with Goodyear to uncover college football’s toughest road environments.

As part of Goodyear’s campaign, they surveyed countless former FBS players from 2001-2021 to find out the toughest road environments and most intimidating traditions among other gameday experiences. Penn State, LSU, Oregon, Ohio State, Michigan and Texas were recognized in these categories.

“As a long-time college football sponsor, Goodyear has witnessed many of college football’s biggest matchups and most historic rivalries over the years, and we know that road games are where grit is most tested,” Meg Lee, vice president of Marketing at Goodyear, said in a statement. “In spotlighting college football’s toughest road environments, we’ll help get fans and players alike ready for the challenges they may face on the road this season.”

We caught up with Robert Griffin III to discuss his partnership with Goodyear, his Heisman favorite through Week 4, if he wants to play in the NFL again and much more.

The Spun: Can you tell us about your partnership with Goodyear?

Robert Griffin III: Yeah. I mean, first of all, I’m just honored to partner with Goodyear. You know, we're trying to recognize the road tested fans and players, you know? They surveyed about 70 former players on the toughest road environments in all the college football. The fans bring a lot of passion, and the results of that show Penn State in first, LSU came in second, Oregon in third, then Ohio State, Michigan, and Texas tied for fourth. So when you talk about teams that have to go on the road, you’ll see this week that Alabama is going to Arkansas, you got Oklahoma State going to Baylor - and yes, Baylor is a tough road environment. It's just cool to see how the fans view that and how the players, especially the former players that were surveyed, see how the game has evolved and how the game is played in those environments.

The Spun: The Goodyear survey showed that Penn State, LSU, and Oregon have the toughest environments. With that said, what’s the toughest environment you faced in your college career?

RG3: Yeah, I mean to be honest with you, it's more so about how the fans are acting in those environments. For me, Texas was obviously a very hard place to play. Baylor, when I was there, didn’t have a lot of success playing there. But then even so like a UConn - back when when I was in college, UConn was actually really good - and the stadium was very tightly compacted, similar to like Oklahoma State, where the fans are like breathing down your neck as you're there. So all these environments are extremely unique, and it's not always the biggest stadiums that are the loudest. But you know, I played at Texas, played at Texas A&M, played in Nebraska when they were still in the Big 12. So I've seen a lot of people and felt that energy. Obviously, silence on the road is a good thing, and we tried to silence as many as we could.

The Spun: Do you feel comfortable saying four College Football Playoff contenders have separated themselves from the pack heading into Week 5?

RG3: No, I wouldn't feel comfortable at all, honestly. And if you notice, I don't make those type of predictions because a lot of times analysts or fans make those predictions and then they try to stick to them and all their information and the way they present it is kind of funneled to their own prediction. So I don't like to do that. It is a fluid list. Rankings to me at the beginning of the year don't really matter. It's just a projection, and then those teams have to go out there and prove it. 

So right now, Georgia has proved that they're the No. 1 team in the country - dominated Oregon, dominated South Carolina. And then for me, I actually put Ohio State over Alabama just because Alabama has struggled at times this year. They just don't look as dominant as Ohio State. Yes, they struggled against Notre Dame, but since the Notre Dame game, they've really picked it up, especially offensively. And then I got Michigan. I called a Michigan game and saw how dominant they are up front. And then I have Clemson over USC because of DJ Uiagalelei. I’m very impressed with what he’s done over the course of the year.

The Spun: You recently called Hendon Hooker your Heisman favorite. What about his game has stood out?

RG3: Hendon Hooker, the biggest compliment I can give him is that he makes the difficult look very simple. Of course, the Florida game wasn’t a road game, but what he has done has put him at the forefront of the Heisman conversation. I tweeted out that he’s the runaway Heisman favorite right now, and I really believe that. To go in there and out-duel Anthony Richardson, who also played well, is impressive. He’s a calming presence. He’s not leading the country in yards or touchdowns, but he’s always having consistent performances. He makes minimal mistakes, and that calming presence I talked about is what you need at quarterback. I’ve never been a Hooker guy, but I’m a Hendon Hooker guy [laughs].

The Spun: Moving over to the NFL. You recently said you were impressed with the Dolphins. On the flip side, what team has been the most disappointing in your mind?

RG3: There are three teams that come to mind. The Colts beat the Chiefs last week, but before that, it looked like the Matt Ryan experiment wasn’t working out. Matt Ryan was getting sacked a bunch, he was turning the ball over. That could turn around though. The other two teams for me are in the AFC West, it’s the Broncos and the Chargers. The Chargers have had a ton of injuries, but they expected to have a better start. As for the Broncos, they haven't scored more than 16 points. They just won a very high-scoring baseball game last Sunday night. Russell Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett, I think people thought it would start a little bit better and it hasn’t. Now they are 2-1, so you can't cry over spilled milk in that situation. They got a winning record, but those three teams to me just haven't seemed to to catch their flow yet. But it is early in the year.

The Spun: You recently said Kyle Shanahan can hit up your line. How serious are you about playing in the NFL again?

RG3: Yeah, it would have to be the right situation. You know, we have fun on that [Monday Night Countdown] set and the guys like to bust my chops about playing or not. I am 32. I'm a lot younger than Steve Young, and Booger could never tackle me when he was playing anyway. So, we we have a good time there. But I wanna fully maximize what I can out of broadcasting, and if you can't tell, I'm having a ton of fun with it. When you see stuff like what happened to Tua in last Sunday’s game and your family is on edge every time you step on a football field, those are things that you have to take into account. But for me, it has to be the right situation.

So yeah, if Kyle called in San Fran or if Seattle or Dallas when Dak [Prescott] went down, that's something that I would certainly entertain. I train every day and make sure I'm ready to go when my number is called. But it's not something that I'm necessarily waiting on. I'm trying to build out the rest of my life while I continue to train and be ready if that call comes. I'll be ready to go out there and then dazzle on the football field again.


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