- Associated Press - Monday, January 2, 2017

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Robert Griffin III felt victorious following a demoralizing season.

Of course he was disappointed the Browns went 1-15 and that he missed 11 weeks after breaking his left shoulder in the opener.

But Griffin, who for more than a flash was the NFL’s next-big-thing before injuries led to his downfall with Washington, feels he restored his image, silenced critics and revived his career.

Cleveland salvaged him.

RG3 wants to stay.

“I want to be here. I’m not an idiot,” he said Monday. “I know a lot of people were writing me off as a player, as a quarterback, saying I couldn’t do it. And to go out and show that I can, I think that proves a lot of people wrong.”

There are still some doubters, but Griffin did finish the season, showing improvement in each of his four straight starts while leading the Browns to their lone win.

The 26-year-old is under contract for next season after signing a two-year, $15 million free agent contract deal in March.

However, the Browns have to decide whether to keep him with a roster bonus of $750,000 due on March 11. If the team doesn’t pay it, Griffin will again be looking for a new team.

“I want to win games,” he said. “Right now I’m here with the Cleveland Browns and I love these guys in this locker room. And I want to help them win here. And if I don’t get that opportunity, then that’s out of my control, I’ve done everything that I can to this point with the cards that I was dealt.”

Griffin never got on the field last season with the Redskins, who released him after four seasons. He went 1-4 with the Browns, but capped the season with his best performance, going 29 of 40 for 232 yards and two touchdowns.

It was a good final impression, but probably not strong enough to stop the Browns from using one of their first round-picks - No. 1 and No. 12 - on a quarterback.

Griffin, though, feels he has a lot more to give and intends to come back better.

“I think to not play a lot of football in two years and finish the season the way we did, or the way I did personally, I feel good about it,” he said. “But I’m not satisfied at all. So I’m going to go into this offseason hungrier than ever, ready to prove it all over again.

“Because that’s what you have to do every single day. I don’t think anybody’s ever said I’ve been afraid of hard work, and that’s never going to change.”

Although he was part of the worst team in Browns history, Griffin said it was inspiring to play with Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas and cornerback Joe Haden, who both battled through injuries.

He appreciated the coaching he received from Hue Jackson and offensive assistant Pep Hamilton and was proud of how the Browns stuck together amid the adversity.

A 0-14 start wasn’t easy on anyone, but Griffin believes it will help the Browns in the future.

“I think this experience makes you better,” he said. “It’s not something that anyone signs up for. But you really find the true character of your team, yourself and everyone in the organization when you go through something like this and like I said, I’m proud to be here.”

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For more NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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