In 2011, Robert Griffin III made history when he brought college football’s most famous statue, the Heisman Trophy, home to Baylor University. On Sunday, Baylor rewarded Griffin with an even bigger statue outside its new on-campus home, McLane Stadium.
Amid fans’ chants of “RG3! RG3!” Baylor unveiled a 9½-foot bronze statue of Griffin rearing back to throw a pass on the stadium’s south plaza.
Griffin, now the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins, attended the pregame ceremony with his parents and his wife, Rebecca, and gave sculptor Tom White a high-five after helping pull the curtain off the statue.
“It’s amazing. You don’t dream about that kind of stuff,” Griffin said. “There’s a Statue of Liberty and all those other statues, but you don’t ever dream of having a statue honored in your name. That’s a blessing. It comes from God and I don’t look at it as anyone putting me on a pedestal. I look at it as I know where my blessings come from,and they’re using me in a way to help other people. Not just to say, ‘He’s a great football player.’ I hope they say, ‘He’s a great man’ as well.”
Griffin arrived at the plaza minutes before the unveiling to a raucous ovation from hundreds of Baylor fans.
Sporting a velvet-like green blazer in the 95-degree heat, he drew laughter when he said, “This jacket was a bad idea.”
Baylor president Ken Starr called the response by the fans “another Miracle on the Brazos” — referencing the Bears’ win over Texas in 1974. Starr added that it’s a treat whenever Griffin returns to campus.
“We always want Robert back,” Starr said. “He’s ours.”
The statue depicts a helmetless Griffin with his right arm cocked to throw the ball, a Baylor helmet sitting at his feet.
It seemed to be a hit with the dozens of Bear fans on hand for the ceremony, who began snapping photos with their smartphones as Griffin’s likeness was revealed.
“It’s awesome,” Baylor fan Jeff Symes said. “If it weren’t for him, this stadium would have never been built. It’s just a great tribute to him, an exciting day.
“I’m glad everyone turned out for it.”
Griffin had not toured McLane Stadium before Sunday. He admitted to being overwhelmed by everything from the stadium to the statue to the fan turnout, calling it a tribute to what head coach Art Briles and the football program has accomplished.
“It’s incredible. People are excited about football,” Griffin said. “I don’t know if we could have said that many years ago, when Coach (Art) Briles and I and all those guys — that first (recruiting) class — got in here. Now we’ve got a lot of guys in the NFL.
“We’ve got a stadium on campus and the future is very bright. But this is only the beginning. There’s much more to come.”