Robert Griffin III ‘Emotional’ After 1st NFL Game in 18 Months
CANTON, OH - AUGUST 02: Robert Griffin III #3 of the Baltimore Ravens looks to pass in the first quarter of the Hall of Fame Game against the Chicago Bears at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 2, 2018 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It may have just been the preseason, but Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game meant a lot to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III.

The 2012 No. 2 overall pick revealed afterward, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, it was an “emotional” moment for him, as it was his first NFL game in 19 months:

“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. [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.”

He went 7-of-11 for 58 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 17-16 victory over the Chicago Bears.

Griffin spent the first four years of his career in Washington, winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2012. However, he was never the same after suffering a knee injury late in his rookie campaign. He ultimately lost his starting job in the nation’s capital and was let go in 2016.

He caught on with the Cleveland Browns shortly after, but he was unable to revive his career. He completed just 59.2 percent of his passes for 886 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in five games. He also spent time on injured reserve that year after suffering a shoulder injury in the season opener.

While he was released after the 2016 season, he is responsible for the Browns’ only win since 2015: a 20-17 victory over the then-San Diego Chargers. Cleveland is 1-31 over the past two seasons.

Griffin was out of the league last year, but he stayed focused and put in the work to keep his career alive, eventually signing a one-year deal with Baltimore this offseason.

“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.”

It’s uncertain if Griffin will be on the Ravens’ roster come Week 1. Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco is expected to enter the season as the starter if healthy, and the team used a first-round pick on Lamar Jackson just weeks after signing Griffin for depth.

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