Introducing the new face of the Redskins: Robert Griffin III

Competitive, driven and media savvy, RGIII boasts the qualities of a star

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NEW YORK — A black Chevy Suburban with tinted windows pulls to the curb where Fifth Avenue intersects 29th Street. A smattering of curious passers-by watch as six television cameras start rolling. The street-side passenger door whips open and RG3 steps out.

Robert Griffin III would rather be somewhere else. Alone or someplace quiet, perhaps. He’ll tell you that without hesitating. “Men do what they have to do; boys do what they want to do,” he says. “I’m a man and I have to do this.”

That doesn’t mean Griffin is salty, though. That’s not his way. His toothy smile greets the cameras despite the fact that he woke up early for a television appearance. He spent the last hour inside the nearby Empire State Building voicing electronic advertisements and conducting phone interviews. This appearance at a Subway sandwich shop is simply next up on his jam-packed itinerary for NFL draft week.

Just seconds later, Griffin is behind the counter building sandwiches for customers. His green Subway golf shirt is emblazoned with an Adidas logo, proof that what we have here is marketing gold.

“What bread would you like, sir? Wheat?” he asks a man. “Cheese? Toasted?” Griffin banters with the customer while a public relations official asks him to take two steps right into better position for photographs underneath a sign inside the store.

The magic of Griffin is on full display. The same competitive inferno that compelled him to train during his high school football team’s days off is pushing him to be the best-ever sandwich spokesman.

His relentless drive to excel merges the elements of Robert Griffin III — the supremely gifted athlete, the quiet kid from central Texas, the hopeless romantic, the charismatic leader, the passionate student — into one package.

He is RG3.

That combination is why the Washington Redskins drafted him Thursday night with the second overall pick and, by extension, appointed him the quarterback to return the team to glory. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner instantly becomes the franchise’s biggest star and the face of the organization.

“I like the way he handles himself,” coach Mike Shanahan said in typical understated manner. “He’s got everything you look for in a starting quarterback.”

Mark Twersky, 34, learned of Griffin’s appearance at the sandwich shop from a friend. Having seen Griffin do his thing on TV, he felt comfortable enough to ask Griffin to throw him his freshly made sandwich.

Griffin laughed at the request while Mr. Twersky took four steps back from the counter. Griffin tossed it overhand, but softly. It came to rest in Mr. Twersky’s hands.

“Good job,” Griffin said. “My first completion.”

“Interception,” Mr. Twersky slyly said later, pointing to the Philadelphia Eagles logo on his sweatshirt.

When Griffin’s appearance concluded, he posed for a picture arm-in-arm with Mr. Twersky. Then it was out onto the New York City street, back into the Suburban and on down the weekly agenda.

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