Baylor teammates welcome home Heisman winner

Robert Griffin III is back at the practice facility on campus.

After four whirlwind days in New York, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin returned to practice Tuesday night with his Heisman Trophy in hand.

Most of his teammates couldn’t stop gazing at it.

“I took about four or five pictures with it,” Baylor linebacker Elliot Coffey said.

The Bears were glad to have Griffin back as they prepare for their Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl date against Washington in San Antonio.

While Griffin enjoyed his once-in-a-lifetime experience as Baylor’s first Heisman winner, he was anxious to get back home with his teammates. His plane arrived in Waco at 5:20 p.m., and he was at Baylor’s indoor practice facility ready to go 40 minutes later.

“I felt like I was gone two months,” Griffin said. “After the plane landed, I ran over here and got dressed, and the guys were shocked to see me. I haven’t gotten much sleep, but once I got back on the field I felt like I had a lot of energy.”

Griffin’s teammates saw him unveil the “Top Ten” list on “Late Night with David Letterman” on Monday night. No. 1 on the list was, “Has (reality television star) Kim Kardashian called yet?”

Griffin is engaged, but he said some of his teammates asked if she’s called yet.

“Here’s the thing,” Coffey said. “If Kim calls, my phone is on.”

Griffin said he enjoyed making the rounds at the national TV shows in New York, but he also made some more serious trips as he visited Ground Zero and met sick children in hospitals. As a Heisman Trophy winner, he understands that he has a whole new level of responsibility.

“When you win the Heisman, you become a lot more visible,” Griffin said. “You realize the sick children are excited to see you.”

Perhaps Griffin’s most memorable moment during Saturday night’s nationally televised Heisman presentation was when he lifted his pant leg to show a Superman sock that included a red cape. Since then, those $12 socks have become a national sensation.

“When those socks are selling for $400 on eBay, it’s a big deal,” Griffin said. “It lets you know that you’re entering a new stage in life, and you have to carry yourself that way.”

When Baylor coach Art Briles was asked if he’s bought his Superman socks, he said, “Can’t afford them.”

After Griffin unveiled the Superman socks, Coffey believed it would be a shame if he didn’t win the Heisman.

“When he pulled up his pant leg and that cape dropped down right on cue, I was thinking, ‘If you don’t win the Heisman, you’re going to break everybody’s heart in America,’ ” Coffey said.

Briles said Griffin’s Heisman Trophy has raised the visibility of the football program with recruits.

“We can go anywhere in America and ask them about Baylor University or Baylor football and Robert Griffin III, and they know who you’re talking about,” Briles said. “They hand one of these out once a year and we got one.”

After their regular season-ending 48-24 win over Texas on Dec. 3, the Bears took off last week before returning to practice Monday. When Griffin missed Monday’s practice due to obligations in New York, his teammates noticed a difference.

“Robert’s our catalyst and we missed him,” Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway said. “When he came back, everyone was happy. All eyes will be on Robert Griffin and Baylor during this (bowl) season, and we’ve got to go out and play hard like we have all year.”

Though Griffin got very little sleep over several days, Briles said he was as sharp as usual during Tuesday’s practice.

“He looked great,” Briles said. “He had a lot of energy and executed extremely well. He wanted to be here and needed to be here. It’s his duty, passion and drive.”

BEAR FACTS: Griffin said he would wait until after the Alamo Bowl to make a decision whether to go to the NFL or come back for his senior year at Baylor.

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