On fourth-and-goal with a District 16-4A title on the line, Jack Welch bet on Robert Griffin III’s legs.
The coach of Copperas Cove High School told Jason Jordan of USA Today his favorite memory of the Redskins quarterback in high school was a clutch 12-yard touchdown run that tied a game against Waco High School at the end of the fourth quarter.
“Common sense would tell you to pass the football or try to get outside, but they didn’t have an inside linebacker so we called a quarterback draw,” Welch told Jordan. “I was nervous because that’s 12 yards, ya know. Well, Robert faked the pass really good and just took off in one of the most beautiful runs I’ve ever seen right up the middle. I mean he zig-zagged and everything and got to the end zone. We tied it up on that play. He had a lot of great runs and a lot of great passes, but that was the most memorable to me.”
Jordan writes a weekly “Athletes Look Back” devoted to visiting with the coaches, families or mentors of high profile athletes during their high school years.
While reflecting on RGIII, Welch remembered thinking it was “crazy” college coaches at at Texas and Texas A&M would not recruit the young football, track and basketball star to play quarterback.
The coach said he did not truly realize Griffin III would make an NFL roster until he observed the quarterback’s development at Baylor.
Welch said he does believe the 2012 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year could have made a living in another arena as well.
“He was one heck of a basketball player,” Welch told Jordan. “I’ve been here 20 years and he’s one of only two kids that made varsity as a freshman. There’s no question that he could’ve been a pro basketball player too. I really believe that.”
Griffin III has said when he was a kid, his goal was “to be better than Michael Jordan.”
When prodded for his take on Griffin III’s return to football in 2013, Welch said the idea that RGIII came back from a knee injury too early is “hogwash.”
“What Robert is is a player. He gets paid millions of dollars to play and win football games,” Welch said. “All he can do is bust his butt and do everything that he can to get back to that team to do what he was paid to do.”
Welch’s confidence in his old pupil extended to Washington’s entire team. When asked if RGIII would lead the Redskins to a playoff berth in 2014, his coach said “sure.”
“He’s that determined,” Welch said. “When he gets in that mind frame, you’d better watch out!”
ABOUT THE REDSKINS: Headquartered at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia, and owned by Daniel Snyder, the historic Washington Redskins Football Club has won five World Championship titles including the 1937 and 1942 National Football League Championship games, as well as Super Bowls XVII, XXII and XXVI. Founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves in Massachusetts, the team changed its name to the Redskins in 1933 and relocated to Washington, D.C., in 1937. Since then, the team has become one of the most recognizable professional sports franchises in history, featuring multiple Hall of Fame coaches, 19 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (with seven others who also were Redskins) and becoming the first team in the NFL with an official marching band and fight song, "Hail to the Redskins." The Redskins have been owned by Dan Snydersince 1999, and beginning in 1997, began playing their home games at FedExField in Landover, Md.